Measuring the emotional well-being of patients as they move through a hospital ward.







My role

Design Director


Experience research piece

Design challenge

How might we measure the emotional well-being of patients as they move through the cardiac ward of a private hospital?


This client came to Tigerspike with a challenge, and nothing else. They wanted a way to measure the emotions of patients, in real-time, as they moved through different stages of the cardiac ward during a surgical visit. The real-time aspect was important, as they wanted to allow for intervention if possible.

The high-level purpose for this project was to better understand the correlation between patient experience and readmission rates.

This was an 8 week research piece to discover and understand the hospital landscape and the people within, design a solution, and test the solution with real patients. I led the experience definition, while a brilliant colleague of mine Edwina McGregor was Senior UX on the project and created the visuals and wire-frames below. We worked closely and I was heavily involved with the research, however my role focused on mentoring over being on the tools.


Below is a little insight into the process for this project.

Below is an insight into the process for this project.

Expert interviews

We spoke to as many doctors, nurses, patients, family members, administration staff and anyone else we could to uncover as much information as possible.

Ethnographic research

We spent time in hospitals observing the movement of patients from parking their car, on the surgery table, and through to checking out.


4 key personas were created from the knowledge we gained in the discovery phase of the project.

Ideation and sketching

There were many moving pieces in this project, rapid ideation sketching was a integral part of tying everything together.

User flows

Simple user flows were super important to allow patients, nurses and family to complete tasks quickly.

Wireframes and prototypes

As always, wireframes and prototypes proved to be the quickest way to test concepts with users. The prototypes were mostly based on iPad Pro.

User testing

The user testing for this project was completed within the hospital setting, the participants were patients, nurse and family. The knowledge we gained was critical, the designs changed quickly.

Service design / patient experience

One of the challenges of this project was the concept of educating users and interweaving a new system into a hospital. We only scratched the surface of this aspect of the piece, however the concepts were crucial for the success of the eventual rollout.


We presented the client with a roadmap of how to move forward with a live product. It consisted of native iPad app, a responsive web app, and an apple watch app.

If people can express how they are feeling without verbalizing, that would be really useful.

Cardiac patient family memberPrivate hospital

The journey.

The patient journey below shows the typical emotions felt by patients as they move through a cardiac ward.

Click the image for a larger view.

Section 1.

The patient experience

Patients were encouraged to check-in and attempt to explain the emotions with the iPad app throughout their hospital journey. This data input was a combination of subjective date from the patient, and a base/constant data point from facial emotion reader technology. The UX needed to be super simple, many of the users were in their 80s, and 90s.

Section 2.

The family member experience

Our research suggested that family members sometimes understand the emotions of the patients better than they understand themselves. Given this, we created a solution to allow family members to report on the emotional well-being of their loved ones through the iPad app.

Section 3.

The nurse experience

Nurses know their stuff. We also allowed nurses to report on the emotional well-being of their patients through the iPad app. This user type also had access to insights about the patient – they require a pin to access.

Section 4.

The head nurse

The head nurse of the cardiac ward had access to an apple watch app which allowed for real-time intervention. It shows the real-time emotional readings coming in from patients, only if they required action. The head nurse was at all times encouraged to use their own discretion about if intervention was required, and if so, what that intervention involved.

Section 5.

The data outputs

All of the data from the platform was to be collated into a desktop app. One of the key metrics which the client was interested in measuring was the correlation between patient experience and readmission rates.

It would be easier to communicate through the app, rather than talking.

Cardiac patientPrivate hospital

A few more bits and pieces.

These visuals were created by a colleague, Edwina McGregor.