An exercise comparing current and ideal states of healthcare provides a framework for acclimation and context. Analyzing all touchpoints in the current state offers insights into framing the ideal state while naturally identifying possible avenues for bridging the gap. Fuel the discussion with questions and make note of the unknowns. 

Exploring the current state of a healthcare product, experience, service or system allows for a deep dive into the potential for enhancing future variations. Rather than presume the current state, engage stakeholders in the process to ensure relevant and up-to-date insights.

Bringing together individuals that influence and impact the current state fosters buy-in—affirming the perceived value of their unique perspectives. Effective design cannot be accomplished in a vacuum—it is a messy, human and awkwardly stunning experience.

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.

How to Get Started

  1. Identify a product, experience or service to focus on and consider the process of engagement. Bring together necessary users from outside and across your healthcare organization.
  2. Together, analyze the current state—consider who, what, where, when, how and why. Go through each aspect of the current state to identify issues and opportunities. Think WHO—who interacts with it, who it impacts, who it influences, who is responsible for it, who it helps, who it harms, who is addressed, who is overlooked, who does it better and who does it worse? Repeat as needed.
  3. What words, images or analogous examples can be used to describe the product, service or experience?
  4. Once you have exhausted mapping out the current state, identify issues and opportunities to visualize the future state.
  5. Engage in a mild-to-wild brainstorm. What if there were no constraints? What would the ideal product, service or experience provide and how? Ask the series of questions for who, what, where, when, how and why regarding the future state. Challenge your team to think broadly before focusing on the practical.
  6. Use these insights to focus and prioritize within your topic of exploration. Generate a list of findings and identify next steps for continued exploration and execution.  

Touchpoint analysis is a valuable tool to explore and assess the current state and—together with key stakeholders—envision the ideal state. Use design thinking to determine a path to achieving the ideal.