The Healthcare Excellence AcceLerator (HEAL) is a collaboration hub, co-led by the QUT Design Lab and the Healthcare Improvement Unit at Clinical Excellence Queensland. HEAL is designed to act as a bridge between the QUT design and innovation community and Queensland Health, accelerating healthcare improvement efforts across the state. HEAL connects healthcare policymakers, clinicians, and administrators across Queensland with designers, who have worked together using design approaches to transform thinking, spaces, places, processes and products, and positively transform healthcare.
Multiple QUT Design Lab members form the core HEAL team, bringing together expertise in inclusive design, participatory and co-design methodologies, design thinking and design led innovation, and the design, development and testing of health tech prototypes and therapeutic, healing environments, as well as visualisation and interaction technologies (augmented and virtual reality) for immersive experiences, training and education.
Our human-centred approach to collaboratively redesigning healthcare is grounded in design thinking, design doing, and design visioning. In addition to the well-known “design thinking” processes that underpin Experience-Based Co-Design in healthcare (see EBCD), what makes our approach distinctive is that we extend that to “design doing” (co-creating and enacting design-led change initiatives), and “design visioning” (future-focussed scenario-based speculative design).
The impact of the HEAL project was recognised in the prestigious 2021 Good Design Australia awards, winning twice: in the social impact and service design categories, for demonstrating tangible benefits of design thinking in positively transforming healthcare. The HEAL team also won the 2021 QUT Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence (VCAE) in the category of Partnership and Engagement Excellence, acknowledging the collaborative real-world Research impact of this project.
In 2023, the HEAL projects are focussed on the arts-based methods of poetry and photography, particularly the photovoice approach – a collaborative documentary photography method.