Participatory Design

Participatory Design is a research method that has proven particularly suitable for health scientific problems and to create and implement new health technological solutions.

The key of participatory design is the increased user involvement, which is of importance for both the technologies created, for those using the technologies and for the organisations operating them.

Working in interdisciplinary teams – often across sectors and sciences – gives the research worker new insights that would have been difficult to acquire in a monodisciplinary team or alone.  Therefore, participatory design is a research design that functions well with projects about health scientific practice-based problems, as it combines research and innovation.

Participatory Design is suitable when wishing to change, improve and base clinical practise on evidence.

PARTICIPATORY DESIGN IN HEALTH

Several research and innovation projects have shown that patients do not always have their needs and wishes met when encountering health services. The participatory design considers this particular problem, as user involvement is a central part of the method.

Through close collaboration with and between all parties, not only the voices of health professionals are heard, but also the voices of patients and relatives. IT-developers are also involved in the design process. This collaboration is just as central as the collaboration with the users, as the developers contribute a technological knowledge that is often unknown to both patients, the health staff and research workers. This close collaboration reduces the risk of having to redesign the technology or technology never being implemented.

Overall, participatory design in health sciences consists of three phases, of which the third phase is an extension of the original design. Phase 3 is developed and tested by Jane Clemensen, who was the first clinical research worker to use participatory design in a project on telemedicine. In phase 3, the developed technology is pilot tested in clinical practice and is evaluated by the users. The individual phases build on each other, and experiences from the previous phases are involved through the entire process.

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Research methods

  • Literature study
  • Field study
  • Individual interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Questionnaires
  • Field study
  • Individual interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Field study
  • Individual interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Analysis of qualitative data
  • Questionnaires

User activities

  • Workshops, fx.:
    • Problem identifikation
    • Future workshop
    • Dilemma-game
  • Workshops, fx.:
    • Experiment in “laboratory”/setup
    • Experiment on hospital
    • Experiment between home and hospital
  • Pilot test
  • Implementing initiative

 

PARTICIPATORY DESIGN IN CIMT

Within the Centre for Innovative Medical Technology (CIMT), participatory design is used in a wide range of research projects, and i.e. it was a PhD project with participatory design that provided the basis for the development of the successful My Hospital app, which is now used in the entire Region of Southern Denmark in a wide range of different patient courses.

See projects at CIMT.