Using Human-Centred Design to Strategise a New Way to Support Junior Doctors in Training

  • 2023

  • Design Strategy

Commissioned By:

MDA National (MDA)

Designed In:


MDA National sought to attract and retain members by creating a new value proposition. However they needed an understanding of Junior Doctors’ needs clear and an engagement strategy that did not compromise on their values. Based on research, CEC identified a unique competitive advantage based on meaningful interactions and empathy.

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  • MDA aimed to acquire and retain Junior doctors in a highly competitive Medical Defence industry. As a purpose driven organisation, MDA sought members who genuinely pursued the highest standard in medical practice. However, they lacked an edge against their larger, more resourced competitors. Additionally, the healthcare industry was changing; Junior Doctors in training were experiencing increased customer expectations and pressure in their industry, leading to burnout. MDA recognised the importance of adapting their service experience to help Junior doctors meet these challenges, while continuing to uphold their purpose-driven mission of improving the standard of medical practice in Australia.

  • CEC helped MDA identify a new value proposition by developing a strategy to orient their service experience toward the emotional needs of Junior doctors. Through holistic customer research, the team identified unmet needs and key market opportunities. Next, they developed concepts for new services through multiple rounds of testing. The work identified a suite of empathy-focused support services targeting stressful stages of the Junior Doctor training journey. This strategy could foster loyalty and advocacy that would endure their whole career. This was a markedly different value-proposition of competitors who relied on discounts and unrelated perks to keep members renewing.

  • MDA’s refreshed strategy enhanced its existing strengths and created an emotional bond with its members. In response, MDA rolled out a suite of changes to their Junior Doctor services and saw a noticeable increase in engagement. They have begun their own journey of testing, measuring and iterating their offering to find what works. Within the coming months, they will be able to measure the impact of these changes on renewal rates. Doctors who engage with MDA's medico-legal services are likely to reduce risk in their practice, ultimately leading to higher quality of care for Australian health consumers across all specialties.

  • The project team conducted extensive qualitative research with 32 junior doctors across Australia to gain customer insights that served as the foundation for their human-centred design approach. They designed multiple concepts and validated them with customers over two rounds of testing, resulting in recommendations on the most high-value initiatives for MDA to invest in. The team also developed a strategy to guide future decision-making regarding acquiring and retaining Junior Doctors. One key feature of the project was a journey map that provided an overall experience architecture for the target audience's 10+ year journey, highlighting consistent "moments of truth" in their emotional experience. The journey map became the hinge for the whole strategy, and MDA chose to focus on 4-6 points they could serve really well. One challenge was creating concepts within a restricted brief. MDA had a clear perspective on what they would and would not do based on their values. Also, MDA had fewer resources than their competitor. Therefore concepts needed to stem from MDA’s existing strengths and business model. Thankfully, customer testing provided definitive evidence that solutions within this vein could indeed attract and retain high-quality members who contribute meaningfully to the medical landscape in Australia.