Use hypothetical stories that explore a specific aspect of a healthcare product, service, or experience. Scenarios help to illuminate key factors that define the service experience as well as continued refinement of opportunities.

These are anticipated examples that leverage personas to play through experiences—revealing issues and opportunities within a particular course of action. Scenarios are useful to play out the potential outcomes of taking different approaches to healthcare challenges.

Scenarios can be used to shed light on a range of healthcare actions and interactions that require important decisions by patients, the broader communities, or clinical and non-clinical staff. Leverage scenarios to play through tentative approaches to cultural initiatives, clinical strategies, and community outreach.

For some instances, conduct the appropriate user research prior to engaging in this exercise. Be cognizant of your organization’s policies and procedures when conducting research.

How to Get Started

  1. Identify and define the current product, service, strategy, initiative, or experience to focus on. Discuss current knowledge and insights.
  2. Consider creating low-level personas—fictitious personalities reflective of a user group. Next, select a persona to "bring to life." List out who they are and what they care about. Think about how you would describe a close friend or family member—their values, beliefs, motivations, and personality. Give them a name, a face, and a story.
  3. Use personas and ask the ‘what ifs’ to play through different variations of the experience.
  4. Use scenarios iteratively to change variables and discuss the impact on the experience and subsequent outcomes.
  5. Create a storyboard to map out the scenario and indicate its variations and findings. Use these insights to focus and prioritize within your topic of exploration. Share findings with your team as appropriate.

Scenarios are a responsible measure to take when weighing the advantages and disadvantages of taking a particular course of action. This technique can be a robust undertaking or it can be as simple as a conversation among key stakeholders. Regardless of application, it is critical to validate insights gained through the process, continuing to explore unanswered questions through ongoing research.