Redesigning Healthcare Outside of the Hospital: The Telehealth Booth
Telehealth has seen exponential growth in clinical settings, remote-based care, and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, healthcare inequities and the digital divide are still barriers to accessing telehealth services. Healthcare is still largely inaccessible to patients who cannot get time off work to get to a regional hospital, those in remote areas who cannot afford the extra travel costs and hospital parking, or to parents who cannot find alternative childcare for when they attend their appointment. Telehealth presents an opportunity to provide more equitable access to specialist appointments. The telehealth booth is a new concept and one possible solution to address health inequities by providing the technology, equipment, and private space to attend a telehealth appointment locally without having to travel far to receive healthcare. Existing literature reveals a gap in knowledge on the user experience of telehealth and the telehealth booth, specifically, and how design can contribute to making the telehealth booth accessible and usable to patients.
This research hopes to highlight the importance of using design-led methodologies and methods, particularly in a health-related area, to unpack and understand user experiences and communicate information effectively when implementing a new healthcare service in the community. Following a human-centered design approach paired with action research, a range of design and qualitative research methods were used to explore how user experience design could help understand the patient experience of the booth. These insights then informed exploration of how communication design can be used to improve the ease-of-use and overall experience of the telehealth booth service. The design outcomes of this research include a patient information resource kit that provides information about telehealth and the telehealth booth, what to expect when attending a telehealth booth appointment, and instructions on how to use the technology within the booth. This research also calls attention to the potential for improving the physical aspects of the telehealth booth and its implementation in different public spaces in the future.