Innovating health care: Key characteristics of human-centered design

Marijke Melles*, Armagan Albayrak, Richard Goossens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Human-centered design is about understanding human needs and how design can respond to these needs. With its systemic humane approach and creativity, human-centered design can play an essential role in dealing with today's care challenges. 'Design' refers to both the process of designing and the outcome of that process, which includes physical products, services, procedures, strategies and policies. In this article, we address the three key characteristics of human-centered design, focusing on its implementation in health care: (1) developing an understanding of people and their needs; (2) engaging stakeholders from early on and throughout the design process; (3) adopting a systems approach by systematically addressing interactions between the micro-, meso- and macro-levels of sociotechnical care systems, and the transition from individual interests to collective interests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Human factors
  • Patient journey
  • Sociotechnical systems approach
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • User needs
  • User-centered design


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