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Elisabeth Yaneske

Area of study
Primary care
Fellowship level
Year awarded
Host university
School of Medicine and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design
University of Dundee
Elisabeth has BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and Biotechnology and an MSc in Computing Science. Before starting her PhD she was involved in researching the use of genome-scale metabolic modelling and machine learning to understand the mechanisms of disease in humans and in researching the digital and international student experience.

Use of design thinking to improve the quality of patient triage in primary care


During the COVID-19 pandemic, new systems for triaging patients using telephone and online digital platforms were rapidly rolled out across UK general practice. This made the continued delivery of high-quality care that was equitable, accessible, and person-centred more challenging. A key reason for this is the digital divide (that is, the gap between people in society who have full access to digital technologies and those without), which has left many patients excluded. While this has been due to a range of factors including lack of access to required infrastructure and devices, as well as lack of technical or language skills, the impact of the digital divide on quality of care is less well understood. To improve the quality of patient triage, new approaches that are sensitive to the diversity and intersectional complexity of local practice systems and patient experiences need to be developed. These approaches will require the effective involvement of patients and clinicians in the improvement process.


Through the use of design thinking, the project aims to improve the quality of patient triage in primary care. Design thinking seeks to understand the user, challenge underlying assumptions, and redefine tricky problems to identify alternative solutions through the core elements of play, empathy, reflection, creation, and experimentation. A key part of this project is collaboration with NHS staff and patients to co-design solutions to challenges identified. The study design and methods may include:

  • Interviews
  • Ethnographic observation
  • Empathy mapping
  • User journeys
  • Prototyping
  • Storyboards
  • Scenarios
  • Co-design workshops
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