The Challenge


The Welfare Innovation unit in the Region of Southern Denmark approached IDEO to transform the emergency room (ER) waiting experience for patients and healthcare workers across their 4 major hospital units. This effort by the regional government was prompted by poor
non-clinical patient satisfaction levels.

Most patients don’t have the ability to judge the quality of the clinical experience because they are not medical professionals. However, patients are good at judging the quality of the non clinical experience. This is something they are familiar with and this is what is remembered and talked about with friends, family and their doctors.

Esbjerg hospital was selected as the location to conduct the observational research and service experience prototyping over a 2 month period. The research and design team defined numerous challenges and problems along a 12 step ER patient journey. 

Project Background


As part of IDEO's Health [ractice, Tom Hynek of Design Research led the research and design strategy aspects of the project. The design team, together with the client identified 6 principles for creating a positive patient experience such as respecting the patient's dignity, privacy and time while allowing them to control various aspects of their ER waiting experience.


30 ideas relating to space design, information flow, communications, comfort and emotional well-being were prototyped with patients and staff. All 30 ideas were implemented in either digital or physical solutions. After project completion the hospital recorded improved patient satisfaction levels.

The Solution

30 new service concepts were prototyped and implemented

New patient ER waiting environment

(case study)