Patient doll dressing as patient experience

Today we went to the Hospital to have some sessions of co-creation with the nurses and the patients.

It was a very dense day and we received a lot from our partecipants. It was nice to see them, nurses and also patients, really focused and involved in the games we designed for them.

Games, yes. In order to make them think about their hospital and their experience in it in a different, I would say abstract and symbolic way, we built 3 games for them: the Pictures Game, the Restaurant Game and the Doll Dressing Game. They were our tools to introduce them in a “liminal world ”  where building new representation of the hospital and the patient experience.

The Doll Dressing Game was conceived to investigate the change of role from being a “normale person” to “become a patient”. That’s a change of identity that often happens when being at the emergency department of an hospital if your final destination is not home, but either another ward or another hospital. We wanted to understand what is important for a patient when building his/her new identity as a patient in the hospital and we tried to do it in a very symbolic domain.

For this game, we wanted to build a symbol of a patient as an undressed doll. The undress doll comes with a set of 10 dresses, each with a different tag that shows  things that a patient would think as really important to him” in those moment of transition from being a “normal individual” to a “hospital patient”.

We asked patients in the waiting room and in the examination room to dress the doll as if the doll was representing themselves at that moment: they should choose dresses with relevant tags for their personal experience and layering them on the doll from the most important (closer to the doll body).

* a doll dressed by one of our participants

* another participant put all the dress on his bed, building a classification row

I really like the symbolic meaning of the doll, the reflection the game asks to you and the action it implies. I really think that the tool we give to our users is a way for them to abstract what they think and as well I hope a way to better comprehend their experience.

Dressing a doll can be for our participants a tool to empathize with the doll itself and I believe they could see themselves from a different prospective. I think that games for user research should also be thought in terms of their physicality because the message in this case is really related with the medium. Infact, when playing these games, everything happens in an “as if world” where “representation of reality and personal experience” are built inspiring participants minds, getting their minds free of specific mental model they have of their experience in the world in that moment of their life.

Here you can see some pics of the other game we designed for the medical staff, the Pictures game. The staff were asked to associate pictures to the different steps of the patient journey in the ER. We tried to keep the pics no so literal but kind of inspirational.

Selecting pictures to associate with the patient journey

Some notes to explain the way nurses have associated pics and patient journey

Almost all the patient journey steps full with associations


5 responses to “Patient doll dressing as patient experience

  1. This is fantastic. I always felt that the worst point, in transition from ordinary, healthy member of society, to a checked-in, stressed-out patient was the changing into gown they gave you.

    Have you published your conclusions elsewhere?

  2. Cool!

    I really like the idea of using game as a method of exploration and co-creation. I want to know more in detail about how you analyzed all these data and what you found as weakness and adventage when you were conducting these games.

    I also work on an area of health care but more focusing on study of the emotion of the patient in a waiting room. I planed to use some kind of a game also. It would be nice if I can get more insigt from you.

    I tried to click on the link above for the result but it didn’t work. I also want to read more about it.

  3. Hi Kwan!
    Tx for your interest. I just fixed the link, sorry! Now you should be able to read more about the project and the insights we got from our research.
    Please, keep in touch with me and ask me more details if the linked documentation is not answering what you are willing to know.
    Where are you based?
    I would also love to hear about your research!

  4. Hello Laura,

    Thank you very much for the link, I will check it out.

    Now, I am doing my master of integrated design at Köln International School of Design, Cologne, Germany. Let’s keep in touch.


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