Community, Healthcare IT

DrDoctor Academy: “Elevating our thinking so together we can design the next generation of healthcare systems.”

Last Thursday we had the pleasure of welcoming 30 people to the DrDoctor HQ to launch the new arm of DrDoctor – The Academy.

Thank you to everyone who participated – we feel more enthused than ever that together we can design healthcare systems to work for the next generation.

“A celebration of the past, the launch of something new, and a glimpse of the future”

The half day focused on creating sustainable change by approaching patients’ problems from new angles. At the moment, the NHS tends to focus on the ‘top of the iceberg’. Solutions are rarely designed around how patients think and feel or what they say and do.

Healthcare can learn a lot from other industries when it comes to changing the way patients interact with their care. As Rinesh Amin highlighted, other industries use behavioural research to solve problems worldwide. Whether it be lifts being ‘too slow’ or Amazon’s intelligent marketing strategy.

“The moto of think big, start small, act fast is one we try to adopt.” – Simon Lilley, Yeovil District Hospital

Guest speaker Simon Lilley, who worked in the airline industry for 20 years before joining Yeovil District Hospital, added to this idea. A diverse blend of industry backgrounds and a merging of minds at Yeovil District Hospital has led to significant change at a fast pace.

Watch Simon’s full talk, along with Tom’s and Rinesh’s here:

After three inspirational talks, the launch took a practical approach to addressing healthcare’s iceberg dilemma. We challenged our audience to come up with innovative solutions to patients’ health problems within 2 hours. Resulting in some fun and incredibly creative outcomes.

The workshop broke into two sections: understanding our users, and designing solutions.

Understanding our users

Defining the process

We kicked off the workshop with an exercise where everyone was asked to draw a vase. They then had to go further and design a way to display flowers in their home.

We learnt that a seemingly simple process can vary greatly. For us to be successful in our work moving forward we need to understand who we are creating for and what their reality looks like.

Identifying issues: Uncovering the body of the iceberg

Each group received a patient profile (aided by a fantastic DrDoctor trained actor as a patient to answer all their questions). We asked groups to identify what their patient was saying, doing, thinking and feeling, and map these on the iceberg.

Designing solutions

This was a six-part, fast pace process.

First sorting all the patients’ thoughts, sayings, actions, and feelings into two columns: pain points and opportunities.

Each group selected one opportunity to focus on. Then everyone individually designed 8 solutions to improve this aspect of their patients care, free from constraints.

Groups then discussed their ideas and each person voted of the best solution to move forward.

The most popular idea was then developed into a full solution and presented to the room.

The solutions

The result was 5 fantastic solutions! Ranging from a digital ‘help button’ which instantly connected addicts with a mentor network to personalised patient portals for physiotherapy. Where patients could access videos, with VR capability, reach out to experts, and exercise with others.

Key lessons learnt

  • How patients feel, think, say and do can often be both pain points and opportunities.
  • Our understanding of patients’ problems from reading about them often differs after we talk to the patients themselves.
  • Our own personal experience often influences our approach to solving patients’ problems.
  • This was an out-of-the-box exercise, which gave a feel for the complexity of creating real world health solutions, where multiple patients are considered.
  • All groups chose to use mobile and other digital technologies to facilitate their solution. This demonstrates the versatile potential of technology in changing the way patients interact with their care.


Keep your eyes peeled for the next DrDoctor Academy event!