SEGD Well: Supporting the Healing Mission

How can design, and specifically EGD, support and enhance the healing mission in today’s complex healthcare environments?

SEGD Well: Healthcare Innovations Workshop, held last week in Cincinnati, set out to find the answers to that question.

So what are the answers? Well, you kind of had to be there. But we’re willing to share a peek at what you missed.

Clue: It’s much bigger than wayfinding or mobile apps.

SEGD Well participants heard from a diverse range of professionals working in healthcare: clients, patients, researchers, and practitioners alike. The event included tours of two state-of-the-art healthcare campuses and included presentations on the state of healthcare design research, the important but often underappreciated topic of nomenclature in healthcare wayfinding, symbol development and use in healthcare environments, and how art, environmental graphics, and architecture can support the healing mission.

Attendees also ran the gamut, from healthcare staff to designers and architects practicing EGD, interactive design, and interior design. Molly Finn Petre, associate director of user experience at digital agency Rockfish’s Cincinnati office, says she was impressed with the range of perspectives and ideas represented during the workshop.

"I’ve always believed that doing holistic systems planning was a much better approach then designing touch-points separately. This workshop opened my eyes to new ideas and introduced me to like-minded colleagues. It really re-focused my energy to pursue the healthcare path head-on without exception."

Here are a few highlights of the two-day event:

Craig Vogel, University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, focused on the state of healthcare design research and UC’s Live Well Collaborative, which partners UC students with consumer companies to develop products for the aging population.

Greg Nelson, Gensler, (Los Angeles) shared a user-centric design process built on understanding user needs and the existing physical conditions, visioning with clients about “what success looks like,” and developing strategies that support the client’s healing mission.

Inessah Selditz, LAB at Rockwell Group, on how interactive experiences can add to the healing mission and provide positive distractions for young patients.

Kate Keating, Kate Keating Associates (San Francisco), focused on the Physiology of Wayfinding and her firm’s research into how nomenclature can impact the effectiveness of wayfinding and therefore the overall patient experience.

Mary Dietrich, Kolar Design (Cincinnati) on how supporting the healing mission goes much beyond wayfinding, encompassing a more holistic experience that uses art, architecture, and design elements to bring color, hope, and rich storytelling to patients and their families.

Anna Sharp, Two Twelve Associates (New York) on the information design process required to develop multilingual wayfinding programs for complex healthcare environments, as well as using cultural references to imbue an international wayfinding system with meaning and resonance.

Healthcare Design Trend Discussions divided participants into groups to tackle some of the biggest issues in healthcare design today.

Each group defined the trends impacting their focus area, identified areas of impact where trends are likely to be revealed in practice and education, focused on dilemmas that require new ways of thinking, and found “hotspots” or key opportunities for addressing the trends. Each group presented their findings to the entire workshop. Here are a few key findings:

Brand and Identity in Healthcare:  Connecting with Multiple Generations

+ "inside-out" focus - living the brand 

+ truly patient-centered – transparent care systems

+ branding of healthy alternatives, promoting wellness

Integrating Design Research and Practice

+ Healthcare is becoming more consumer-driven

+ Impact of aging population on design

+ Customization vs. universality

Multidisciplinary Collaboration: Shaping the Patient Experience

+ Tech is changing work spaces (size, touchpoints, etc.)

+ Clients are multidisciplinary so design teams must also be

+ Architects/designers are becoming mediators among the multidisciplinary teams

Didn’t make it to Cincinnati? SEGD is offering a package course for sale with the presentations and recordings of the day’s events. Interested in getting on the list once it is released? Contact Justin Molloy.

Thank you to our SEGD Well Sponsors: Harmon Sign, SH Immersive Environments, AGI, Color-Ad Signs and Exhibits, Principle Group, Excellart Sign Products, and Site Enhancement Services.

Special thanks to our event partners: Live Well Collaborative and Kolar Design.

And thanks also to Mercy Health – West Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and the University of Cincinnati for hosting workshop tours. 

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Upcoming SEGD Events

2023 SEGD Academic Summit
2023 Wayfinding and Placemaking
2023 Experience Washington D.C.