The Value of a Research Through Design approach to explore Healthcare Service Provision

PARTRIDGE, Rebecca Anne (2018). The Value of a Research Through Design approach to explore Healthcare Service Provision. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This thesis reports on a research-through-design (RtD) PhD study. This sought to integrate Design skills and approaches as part of service provision within a healthcare team at Sheffield Childrens Hospital. Working with the chronic pain (CP) team it used a mixed-method approach to understand how design practice could be used to understand context and develop relationships with stakeholders. This supported the development of workshops to explore if demonstrating design skills and approaches to adolescents with CP could have an impact on their management behaviours. Literature suggests there is an increasing demand for design methods outside of the traditional design field. Both by designers, who find themselves working in other disciplines and non-designers, as a route to problem-solving and innovation. In particular, the complexity of health services provision and the call for increased innovation has led to increased use of design methods in healthcare to develop services and as a method to support problem solving in patients. There are complexities when conducting this type of design-led project in healthcare, where there can be conflicting worldviews on evidence and knowledge, and strict ethical procedures to contend with. This thesis follows the journey of the researcher as they navigate this whilst ultimately remaining true to a RtD approach to explore healthcare service provision. The study provides new insights on RtD in healthcare. Interviews and reflective practice suggest that design practice was successful to understand the context, build trust, visualise services, understand service complexity and navigate difficult topics. Self-report data from the workshops found that adolescents enjoyed the sessions and there was some acquisition of ‘designerly’ skills. The study adds to knowledge in the field. It acknowledges the potential value of design to support adolescents but recognises that this has a long way to go with much more work needed. Key findings are: The study argues the value of research through design in healthcare to support healthcare service provision and the future need to articulate this to a healthcare audience. In order to present some of this study approach to healthcare it argues the need of design facilitation to be a recognised design practice. And further unpacking of the specific skills that design professionals can bring to this sector. the recognition of which would encourage design involvement earlier in studies. Finally based on experiences from the study it provides recommendations for other design researchers.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Langley, Joe [0000-0002-9770-8720]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Joseph Langley
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2019 09:58
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:02

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