Service design as a tool in mapping processes

The medical metrolines are developed for the VVCZ (Vereniging Veilige Curatieve Zorg – Association for Safe Curative Care), an association of hospitals cooperating to improve patient safety. The medical metrolines provide professionals with a survey of a complete process that is followed by e.g. a patient, a medical tool or a medication.

In this visualisation the units concerned, the check points, the halting points and the responsible staff are indicated. The medical metroline shows how the involved staff members’ activities cohere. By means of the survey that the Medical Metroline provides staff can analyse, discuss and improve processes more easily.

The animation below explains what the Medical Metro Line is and how it can help increase patient safety.



The medical metroline follows a patient, medical tool/device or medication. The red line is the patient’s path. At the stations where the red line arrives it is indicated who is responsible for the execution of certain tasks at that point in time.

Panton Service design Medische metrolijnen

Setting up a metroline

The first question we always ask in our service design path is: What do we want to achieve? The answer to this question makes clear who’s got to be involved and which processes have to be dealt with in the metroline. Examples of goals are: tackling (a)bottleneck(s) or the informing and training of (new) staffmembers.

Overleg metrolijn

In a small team we make a rough outline of the process. This outline gets more and more detailed on basis of feedback from representatives of all functions that are involved in the process, and from regulations and protocols. At the end of the design path we have a survey which is endorsed by all staffmembers.

Metrolines we developed

In the past years several metrolines were developed for VVCZ and its members:

  • Peri-operative process
  • Heart catheterisation
  • Safe Application of Medical Technology
  • Acute care in the A&E
  • Medication safety
  • Out-patients’ surgery under sedation

Ontwikkelde metrolijnen

Practical tools

The medical metroline gives a survey of a process. After its realisation it is often felt that the improved process has to be guaranteed in practice with practical tools such as transfer forms, pocket cards with instructions, films or e-learnings.

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