hospital journals

Creative self-reporting is an under-utilized research method that can uncover elusive latent needs in an audience.

Part of my work with in Design for Services was to design a journal that would empower patients at University of Pittsburgh’s Medical Center to communicate what was missing from their inpatient hospital experience. What started out as a conceptual class assignment, evolved into an opportunity to collect patients’ thoughts and feelings in a way that was untried in a clinical environment.

UPMC reached out to me after the assignment was over and I developed a journal for them that was easy to produce, distribute and collect.

What’s important

This method is a way for hospitals to receive near-real-time feedback about the service they are providing patients and their loved ones, but takes a patient-focused approach. By focusing on the patient (the ultimate end-user), the journals provide the service provider with a shared artifact to communicate with the customer (patient) to keep the service performing above their expectations for the duration of the service.

Journaling process:

  • Hospital prints and prepares journals with templates based on the type of patient (day of admission surgery, ED (emergency department) admission, outpatient clinic, etc.)
  • The patient and their family receive a journal and a Polaroid camera upon checking in
  • Patient and family fill in journal during “down-time”
  • Nurses collect journals as part of daily rounds, scan into system, and return to patient
  • Doctors, nurses, and other hospital personnel review journals
  • Hospital personnel enhance services based on journal comments

Journals provide patients:

  • A way to communicate directly to nurses, doctors, and staff about the service hey were
  • An indirect way to indicate how the hospital is performing based on expectations
  • An activity during otherwise idle time

Journals provide hospitals:

  • Direct feedback on their level of service
  • Patient emotional state
  • Metrics around service improvement in patients’ own words

Mockups of one blank journal:

Mockup Journal front cover Mockup Journal Page 2 Mockup Journal Page 3 Mockup Journal Page 5 Mockup Journal Page 6. The number of inside pages depends on length of the patient's stay. Mockup Journal Page 7 Mockup Journal last page

Mockups of a completed journal:
Mockups of a completed journal. Mockups of a completed journal. Mockups of a completed journal. Mockups of a completed journal. Mockups of a completed journal. Mockups of a completed journal. Mockups of a completed journal. Mockups of a completed journal. Mockups of a completed journal. Mockups of a completed journal.

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