Deploy a prescriptive package that lives with users to document their experience over a particular period of time. Design seamless, easy-to-use tools to capture thoughts, actions, and emotions, and explore rich insights gained through this process.

Utilize insights as a primer to enrich the quality of your communications and marketing strategies. Research your patient populations and nearby communities by placing data collection tools in their hands and encouraging them to reflect on their own experiences. 

Use artifacts that emerge through cultural probes to open a dialogue between your healthcare organization and its users. Keep the process human, engaging individuals in a discussion upon completion of their exercise. Assure them you can be accessed during the process if any questions arise. This is an opportunity to build an authentic relationship between your organization and the community it serves.

We recommend conducting the appropriate user research prior to engaging in this exercise to ensure the cultural appropriateness and relevance of your tools.

Be cognizant of your organization’s policies and procedures when conducting research. 


  1. Have a specific purpose in mind for utilizing a cultural probe. What are you studying and what populations do you need to engage?
  2. Identify your research questions, strategically select your sample of relevant stakeholders, and frame your questions and the format of your tools appropriately with the recipient in mind.
  3. The design of the cultural probe is very important. Provide very clear instructions for what you would like the user to complete. Are they building a collage that reflects their thoughts on wellness, or keeping a daily journal and tracking when they make decisions that impact their health? Package all materials appropriately.
  4. Determine the length of time and compensation for participants. Be upfront, managing expectations appropriately and in accordance with your organization’s policies.
  5. When you collect the probes, don't take them for face value— rather, use them as a starting point to fuel continued discussion with the user. Cultural probes can be a valuable tool for stimulating discussion between the patients and healthcare leaders.

Keep the artifacts that users create to share insights and stories internally. Display these probes (as appropriate) as a reminder of the importance of engaging with users.