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(Carmel-Gilfilen 2015)

Designing With Empathy
Humanizing Narratives for Inspired Healthcare Experiences

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Abstract:   

Objective: Designers can and should play a critical role in shaping a holistic healthcare experience by creating empathetic design solutions that foster a culture of care for patients, families, and staff. Using narrative inquiry as a design tool, this case study shares strategies for promoting empathy.

Background: Designing for patient-centered care infuses empathy into the creative process. Narrative inquiry offers a methodology to think about and create empathetic design that enhances awareness, responsiveness, and accountability.

Methods: This article shares discoveries from a studio on empathetic design within an outpatient cancer care center. The studio engaged students in narrative techniques throughout the design process by incorporating aural, visual, and written storytelling. Benchmarking, observations, and interviews were merged with data drawn from scholarly evidence-based design literature reviews.

Results: Using an empathy-focused design process not only motivated students to be more engaged in the project but facilitated the generation of fresh and original ideas. Design solutions were innovative and impactful in supporting the whole person. Similarities as well as differences defined empathetic cancer care across projects and embodied concepts of design empowerment, design for the whole person, and design for healing.

Conclusions: By becoming more conscious of empathy, those who create healthcare environments can better connect holistically to the user to take an experiential approach to design. Explicitly developing a mind-set that raises empathy to the forefront of the design process offers a breakthrough in design thinking that bridges the gap between what might be defined as “good design” and patient-centered care.

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Definition(How was empathy defined?)


Benefits(Were any benefits of empathy mentioned?)


Criticisms  (Were any criticisms, negative effects or risks of empathy mentioned?)


Methods(What were the methods used to train empathy?)
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