Using a teach & do approach to design developmentally appropriate healthcare

Design Research
Service & Experience Design

Client : Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Trust

The challenge

Using design thinking to tackle youth disengagement within healthcare

The Centre for Innovation, Transformation and Improvement (CITI) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust wanted to embed design thinking within their processes and learn how to do so on a real-world, live project. In response to this challenge, we tackled a complex problem currently being faced by the Trust: the high incidence of patient disengagement among young people with chronic conditions, as they move between paediatric and adult services.

The approach

Researching with patients & prototyping a new service

We researched the needs of Young People as a developmentally distinct group, and spoke with them and their families and carers, before designing and testing a new patient service which takes a more gradual and personalised approach to transitioning between services. We collaborated on the design with a wide range of stakeholders throughout, including clinical and non-clinical staff from across the trust.

The research

The research phase of the project included 20 in-depth interviews with service users and visiting a range of different clinics during discovery research to understand how current services do or do not meet their individual needs. This gave us a rich understanding of the shortfalls of the current service model, and revealed a range of opportunities for how the service could be improved for young people.

Using our research data, we created a series of fictional young people and accompanying stories to highlight their commonalities and variances.


Post-research we ran a service blueprinting workshop involving team members from different departments in both clinical and administrative roles, to identify service user and operational pain points. We combined these insights with those from our research to develop a series of design briefs, which staff responded to during co-creation workshops, generating a huge range of ideas.


Using ideas generated through-co-creation, with insights from our research, eight concepts were iterated and shaped as part of a more holistic transition service. We illustrated these concepts, which were a mix of digital and in-person experiences, then tested them with young people, to establish their desirability. The concepts ranged from an interactive service induction, a redesigned waiting room and a fast and direct messaging service for staff and patients to a digital hub for patients to log notes and see their upcoming appointments.

The impact

  • Developmentally appropriate

    A more responsive service that takes account of a patients’ maturity and ability to manage their own care.

  • Actionable

    Practical, achievable ideas for a supportive, more personalised transition from adult to paediatric care.

  • Capability built

    An NHS team coached to learn on a live demonstration project, succeeding in getting the project done and becoming self-sufficient in collaborative co-creation skills and methods for future projects.

Let's chat

If you’re looking to
drive innovation within
your business, we’d
love to hear from you.

"*" indicates required fields

Drop files here or
Max. file size: 10 MB, Max. files: 5.
    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.