Ministero della Salute

WORKSHOP - Research - 2023

As a result of updated regulations annually needs have changed, it is time to redesign operational tools.


The Minstero della Salute (Ministry of Health) is a department of the Italian government. It has duties in health, prophylaxis,and liaison with international and European institutions in the field of health. Specifically, we have been working with USMAF and SINTESIS, specialized operators who are in charge of checking the health status of goods moving on national territory.

The goal of the project is to identify the needs and requirements of the operators in the management of the different practices and in the collaboration with ASL and specialized doctors.



1.  Desk Research
2.  Interviews
3.  Download & Cluster



1.  Preparation
2.  Tools
3. Sessions



1.  Download
2.  Cluster
3.  Sharing the results


Who are USMAF and SINTESIS, and what do they do respectively?

USMAF and SINTESIS are two entities within the Ministero della Salute that both deal with sanitary controls on Italian territory: USMAF deals with sanitary controls and audits on goods of different types entering and leaving Italy, as well as verifying sanitary devices inside means of transport and vaccinations and medical examinations to workers operating in airliners and ships, SINTESIS on the other hand deals with sanitary controls to animals and food in contact with animals or derivatives.

These are therefore two quite distinct souls within the Ministry, which is why they require two research streams and two Workshops dedicated to each.


Let's find out what are their current difficulties, what are their needs?

The difficulty in organizing these interviews was that we were not aware of their actual operations: we knew what they were dealing with in general, but we did not know what other operators they interfaced with, what their actual platform looked like, whether they were only dealing with the documentation and licensing part or whether they were personally doing the on-site commodity checks, etc.

In short, a lot of information was obscure to us, which is why there was an initial extensive desk research phase, where each of the team explored within the government site all the services in charge of USMAF and SINTESIS and reported on a common board. This gave us an overview, that allowed us to prepare a starting interview protocol.

Unfortunately, the information was sufficient only for the writing of a first, more exploratory draft of an interview protocol, which as the interviews progressed we modified and updated with more pointed questions, this allowed us to assimilate all the complexities a little at a time and arrive at the workshop preparation prepared.








What emerged from the interviews?

In downloading the interviews, needs emerged related to pain points of various kinds: both technical in nature of platform operation, processes and lack of functionality to support operators. Once we identified all of them, we divided them into clusters of type/function: payments, notifications, master records, signing, etc.

This grouping allowed us to identify the functionalities and ideas on which to reason together in the co-design phase at the next workshop with the operators, so that we could understand with them how they envisioned solving the problem through a range of functionalities.


A range of features through which to design new platforms

Every workshop is different, and this time we needed to organize it by trying to engage users as much as possible with an activity that would be easier to understand even to an audience that is not very set with digital tools. Thus avoiding overly complex feature proposals and giving them all the tools to understand the features available and thus be more proactive in sharing ideas and formulating new solutions.

We then made "feature cards" (ideas), with attached descriptions and some examples of popular commonly used platforms in which the functionality is active, so as to help them understand them and see if they could be helpful and how. To further facilitate their understanding, we organized them by "opportunity areas" according to the topic: "Having an overview," "Enhancing skills," "Facilitating public/private communication," etc; so as to also outline the scope of action and related problems.

02 . 3 - SESSIONS

3 days of non-stop workshops,
39 participants,
6 facilitators,
2 platforms

A Roman trip that resulted in 3 days of very intense workshop, we had so much information to keep in mind that the risk of confusing the two platforms was high.

But the workshop was a success, with great participation and enthusiasm of people who were not only coming up with new ideas, but also drawing on paper how they really imagined them. It was also a moment in which, for the first time, USMAF and SINTESIS users interfaced with the operators of the companies discussing what were the problems that each had experienced up to that moment, realizing together solutions that went to meet both.

It was a moment of true Design with a capital D.

03 . 1 - DOWNLOAD

Back in the office, we digitilized the paper post-its and detailed the features

Once all the proposals were mapped out, we reconfirmed some of the ideas by detailing them with the proper functioning and points to be considered for implementation.

The end result of this great work are two assessment documents detailing all the new features to be integrated into the new platforms. Then the different Technology and Development teams, together with the Ministry contacts, will detail the technologies and feasibility of the functionalities that emerged in the co-design phase.



Deliberately, within this case, I have not gone into too much detail about all the intricacies of this particular project, but I want to summarize it with an exchange with the Lead Service Designer the day before the workshop, "If you can handle this, you can handle any other workshop."

You can't even imagine behind each interview how many constraints, acronyms, referrals, internal management processes, and constraints with relationships outside the office, bureaucracy, and the types of certifications and controls they have to manage. A really important amount of information to have to keep in mind.

It's been quite a journey, quite an adventure from which I've learned a lot. Functional requirements will be coming soon and the project will start with the first stages of UX Design.

I can't wait!