Conference Paper

Design Contributions to Oral Healthcare: A Systematic Map

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Objectives: There is growing recognition of the value and capabilities of design-led activities in healthcare, and design is increasingly being applied to complex and intangible problems and shaping the future of healthcare systems. However, there is limited evidence on both the utilisation and understanding of design in oral healthcare. This study aimed to collate, describe and catalogue evidence of design presence in oral healthcare. Methods: A systematic search of academic databases and grey literature was performed. Duplicates were removed, and publications relating to the same project were grouped. Projects were included if they were relevant to oral healthcare and had input from a designer, or clear implementation of a design methodology or approach. A multidisciplinary review team independently screened a sample of the dataset to ensure consistency. A coding framework was developed to classify each included project. An interactive map of the projects was then produced. Results: The searches retrieved 18,974 results. From these 104 relevant design projects in oral healthcare were identified from 1973 to 2021. General information was extracted about each project, as well as classification by four categories: contribution type (interventional, empirical, methodological, or theoretical), design order (1st - graphics, 2nd - products, 3rd - services, or 4th - systems), setting of use, and relevant patient group. The map produced reveals; an overrepresentation of interventional contributions; a lack of evidence of 1st and 4th order design activity; trends in healthcare expanding outside of clinical settings into homes and communities; and engagement with key groups outside of the general population including children, people with dental anxiety, and disabled people. Conclusions: This systematic mapping study collated evidence on the current state of design in oral healthcare, demonstrating the role of design across diverse applications and settings. The map aids critical reflection, highlights trends and gaps, and could help inform strategic future collaborations between design and oral healthcare.

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