Removing Silos: A designer’s reflective account of working collaboratively within the healthcare sector

Dr Belinda Paulovich
2015 Conference

This paper proposes to turn a mirror on my own experience as a doctoral candidate from visual communication immersed in interdisciplinary research within the healthcare sector. Design and health is a strongly emerging field where there is capacity to engender positive social change. However, design in health is often conducted in isolation with little exchange between the designer and those affected by the outcome. What if designers’ were more permanently embedded in healthcare environments? Would we see improvements in service delivery? Would we see an increase in patient satisfaction? Drawing from my own interdisciplinarity experience, this paper suggests that altering the typical healthcare paradigm to embed designers more permanently in the healthcare team has merit and should be further investigated. There is an opportunity to more rigorously examine design and health innovation at the higher education level, growing a shared culture of collaboration that can be built upon in the form of internships, residencies and even careers that have the potential to radically change the design and health landscape. This paper will present my experience of designing with the health industry from the rarely examined, but valuable, doctoral candidate perspective, offering insight into a successful example of design, health and higher education collaboration.

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About the author

Belinda Paulovich is a Lecturer in Graphic Design at Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, Australia. She holds a PhD in Visual Communication and a Master of Visual Art and Design from the University of South Australia. Her research has explored ways in which designers can collaborate with professionals in health, medical and scientific domains to produce communication solutions that are visually appealing, functional, accurate and user-centred. Her current research interests include collaborative practice, self-reflective practice, power dichotomies in the health field and the challenges associated with conducting qualitative research in medical and scientific domains.