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Service Design (MA)

Yitong Liu

This is service designer Yitong Liu with a background of product design and UX design work experience. I have a strong passion for social impact and innovation, and hope to make positive changes that could help to improve people's life by using service design thinking and tools.

Show Location: Kensington campus: Darwin Building, Lower ground floor

For my final project, my own work experience gave me the inspiration of exploring the missing gaps of online health consultations, which now is a new emerging service.

I tried to give patients a new way to express their problems, which provides a new language to communicate pain, especially for those who have language barriers, increases interaction in the communication between patients and doctors, and encourages narrative for patients to talk about their personal journey.

Novo, new language for health, is a platform gives patients new language to visualize and communicate their pain, increase time, and develop assurance during online health consultations. 

It provides a new way for patients to express their problems on a body map using simple graphics which are easy to understand, especially for those who have language barriers, and also increases interaction in the conversation between patients and doctors as a communication tool.

In addition, it encourages narrative for patients to talk about their personal journey, for doctors to provide personalized interventions.


Online health consultations, a new emerging digital healthcare service

In the last decade, remote primary care consultations, conducted by telephone, video, or text-based communication have become more common. Also the pandemic has rapidly accelerated this change. In the UK, it’s provided by the public healthcare service NHS and also some other private healthcare providers like Babylon health.

My internship as a UX designer in a digital healthcare company Jingdong Health raised my interest about this service, because I saw lots of missing gaps during the whole service process that can be explored and solved.


Main barriers in online health consultations for patients and doctors

In my research, I spoke to over 20 people who have online health consultation experience, including private healthcare users, NHS online GP service users, and students. Also, I interviewed some GPs with rich work experience.

From the perspective of the patients, limited time of the consultation, incomplete communication between patients and doctors, and patients’ lack of assurance are the three biggest problems of online health consultations.

However, for doctors, the main problem is the lack of time and narrative. Doctors need time to communicate with the patients to know their personal journey, and give solutions based on patients’ personal situation.

Novo, new language for health, is a platform gives patients new language to visualize and communicate their pain, increase time and develop assurance

A new way of expression

My research and insights make me believe the theory that, if we can create a new language for patients to communicate their pain, we can then better use the consultation time, make patients feel being listened to and then increase assurance.

I would like to design a new way for patients to express their problems, which increases interaction in the communication between patients and doctors, and to some extent encourages narrative for patients to talk about their personal journey. This new way of expression should be easy for patients to access and at the same time guarantee efficiency according to the key elements of supplying good consultation service I got from previous research and findings.

Specific problems and personal journey

The main service can be divided into two different aspects, specific problems and personal journey.

For patients to describe their specific problems, a body map and simple graphics are used to record their problems around location, symptom, intensity, duration, frequency and pattern according to the basic information doctors require. It’s like a dictionary designed for communication, especially for those who have language barriers.

About the personal journey, patients need to complete their personal profile including lifestyle, family context, exercise, stress level and sleep, which is important for GP to provide personalized interventions.