Hospital design lab wins top award

Hospital design lab wins top award

Hospitals aren't usually big on designer flair but a pop-up design lab at Auckland City Hospital has just won a top award.

It was given for the hospital's Design for Health and Wellbeing Lab – a place to come up with new ways to improve patient experiences.

Design students in a design lab in the hospital – at first a bizarre concept, but what these guys are doing has been successful and well-received.

It came about because a senior lecturer at AUT University's design faculty saw a way they could make the hospital experience better for patients.

"Everyone we know has an encounter at some time with healthcare or hospitals, and the stories aren't always great," says AUT design lecturer Steve Reay.

So he knew doing some small things could make a large difference.

Digital design students work on things like an animated heart to clearly show families what the widespread problem of rheumatic fever does to kids' hearts.

They're helping make A&E waiting time signage clearer and more interesting, giving wheelchair patients access to the hospital's pharmacy. Even fashion designers are at work.

The hospital is thrilled with the collaboration and says it has helped solve a big issue at the hospital.

"The user experience and the experience of patients and families wasn't as prominent as it needed to be, and so AUT with their design skills just bring through a whole bunch of ideas to explore the user experience," says Justin Kennedy-Good of the Auckland District Health Board.

The Design for Health and Wellbeing Lab was honoured last night for the design, which is of most benefit to the community. That's the 60,000 people who come through Auckland City Hospital doors each week.

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