Engage your team to re-enact interaction with a healthcare product, service, or experience. Service roleplay is an immersive exercise to identify issues, opportunities, and gaps in process by working through hypothetical situations. 

This exercise allows individuals to adopt a different vantage point in an experience to react and respond "authentically" and in real-time. Those not directly involved in the roleplay can analyze the experience and share observer insights. Use this exercise to challenge and provoke a status quo point of view.

Thinking through a range of healthcare experiences and touchpoints through this exercise can offer a unique vantage point—swapping your marketing or strategy hat for that of patient, provider, or caregiver.

We recommend conducting the appropriate user research prior to engaging in this exercise. Be cognizant of your organization’s policies and procedures when conducting research.


  1. Identify the interaction to explore, brainstorming the qualities of the interaction and specific roles to be filled—who are the players, what are they trying to accomplish, and how? Assign roles, including that of the observer.
  2. Create 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. Map out the specific steps involved in the interaction and determine what aspects to focus on. Think both sides of the interaction—on one hand, the patient or community and, on the other hand, healthcare organization.
  4. Re-enact several situations, switching roles among the team. Rotate between players and observers, and share insights after each re-enactment.
  5. Use these insights to focus and prioritize within your topic of exploration. Generate a list of findings and key considerations to apply to the ongoing development of your service or experience. 

Rethink how to approach hospital waiting time or dissecting the intricacies between patient and physician interactions. Stepping into the shoes of another requires an understanding of their viewpoint to anticipate their response. Empathy is an underlying driver in this exercise. Remember to share the results of your learnings, as a range of healthcare experiences can benefit from your high-level takeaways.