Reimagining the Emergency Department Experience


Designing a Scalable Emergency Department Model

LifePoint Health is a network of 89 hospitals in 30 states serving growing regions, rural communities, and small towns across America. The system’s leadership sought out novel and human-centric ways to envision novel marketing and patient communications concepts that will result in a strategic marketing campaign applicable across a wide-range of LifePoint markets to increase the volume of well-qualified ED admissions in its hospitals.

Strategic Foundation

  • Design Thinking

Deliverables & Tactics

  • Design Thinking Workshop

LIFT hosted a design thinking workshop with stakeholders within the LifePoint corporate marketing organization to explore the practical application of design thinking in framing marketing and content processes to support the ED service line across a family of hospital brands.

  • To drive service line awareness in the community and educate community members about their options in healthcare.
  • Leverage proven marketing conventions to serve multiple service lines and branding strategies while generating content and marketing tools that have a long lifespan—content and tools that can be spread across multiple content delivery platforms.
  • To learn about design thinking and articulate specific creative concepts for ED marketing that client can immediately implement across a targeted family of LifePoint hospitals.
  • Engaging, educating, and activating potential ED consumers with messaging that appeals to individuals not necessarily experiencing an emergency when they are consumed.

  • Leveraging consumer outreach and engagement efforts to promote healthcare literacy with a focus on proper ED service utilization.

  • Capitalizing on opportunities to bridge ED marketing with select priority service lines (cardiovascular, neurology, and orthopedics).

  • Mobilizing internal stakeholders to become advocates for the LifePoint ED experience in the community by equipping them with information to share with consumers.


LifePoint makes available ED marketing tools primarily in the form of Real-Time ED Wait Clocks. While effective when wait times are low, these types of advertisements yield a number of built in vulnerabilities: 1) While they speak to a visceral need of the ED consumer (being seen quickly), they are only relevant to the consumer at that particular moment and offer nothing else tangible in the consideration set; 2) Patients who may be more appropriate to seek care in an UCC setting may opt to visit the ED instead, viewing it as a more time efficient choice. This drives up wait times and leads to frustration for patients and providers, alike; 3) If wait times are high, these ads may actively drive patients to competing hospitals; 4) The times displayed do not always reflect the time-to-be-seen patients actually experience in the ED, leading to frustration and disillusionment.


LIFT helped LifePoint envision through design thinking a set of supplemental efforts with a modular, human-centric campaign that is focused primarily on consumer awareness, engagement, and activation/acquisition. By approaching creative from a position of extreme stakeholder empathy—leveraging both traditional and unconventional prototypes of content/ messaging delivery—the campaign seeks to both educate and empower the consumer to make the right choice when facing an emergency medical situation in the future.

In an effort to supplement and enhance LifePoint’s legacy ED marketing efforts, LIFT designed a set of modular consumer outreach and marketing programs that can be customized to targeted LifePoint hospitals and leveraged as part of a expanded marketing program for ED services.


Through problem seeking and analogous thinking, the groups identified evidence-based opportunities for meaningful consumer engagement. The overarching narrative in the Journey exercise (and subsequent discussion) was the notion of providing content to users at a time and place where they would be receptive to such content. Another narrative was the notion of relevance—providing content (messaging) that is individually relevant to the consumer. Following the workshop that included purposeful discussion and ideation, several concepts were framed into prototypes for further discussion.