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NHS Fife Clinical Pathways

The Department of Strategic Clinical Change and Development at NHS Fife had developed an innovative series of electronic clinical pathways which visualise patient movement within the hospital environment. It was hoped that this work would enable members of staff to review clinical practise and as a result maximise efficiency by reducing unnecessary processes.

Having won the contract in a tender bid, Designers on the Run were commissioned to undertake the design of a pictogram series for the strategic team and NHS staff to use.

Designers on the Run were also comissioned for the design of the accompanying portal and further supporting creative assets including a user manual and help files.

NHS Fife Clinical Pathways - left image
NHS Fife Clinical Pathways - right image


The current system employed the use of clip art which was viewed as inappropriate, arbitrary and inconsistent with representing and upholding the NHS Scotland brand.

It was the requirement of NHS Fife to have a more manageable number of pictograms to replace the use of clip art. The pictograms would have to be able to represent a wide range of situations from patient self care, GP surgeries and primary care settings to A+E, hospital clinics and theatres.


There was a comprehensive amount of research undertaken which included looking into NHS Scotland branding guidelines, investigating precedent studies into pictogram and wayfinding design use in exisiting health care systems and other public spaces.

Designers on the Run also carried out a user survey to be distributed amongst NHS fife professional staff and consulted with NHS members of staff – the target user for the new design system.

With the results from the research in place Designers on the Run could begin to build on this and create a corresponding design solution.

NHS Fife Clinical Pathways - image