UX Designers for Healthcare should be placed in Hospitals, near users. They would only need time to observe, to ask, to help, and a table to sit and sketch.
… unfortunately, the most of the time, UX designers are in departments, with managers and technologists; not thinking in the problem, nor providing solutions, but offering workarounds, feasability analysis, and making real the statement: companies invest in UX.
There’s no discussion for me, you don’t need justify UX ROI anymore, the only investment you cannot afford as a company is to waste your resources and the real experience of your users.
I’m not suggesting to remove design departments; if they exist in your company that’s a great new, I have seen how much you can influence in your company’s values when there are more than one single “UI-guy”.
I’m not only telling that you have to fire your domain experts, if they exist in your company take advantage of them by creating a domain knowledge database.
However, the work methodologies and development processes require a transformation, not only in the techniques applied day by day in the office, but also in the way the worker participates and, as a consequence, the way the designer is involded in the problem s/he has to face.
Designers as a service
The mistake, imho has been consider that the only service a designer can provide is “Consultancy”. That’s good when there are few UX Experts in your company and you need to assess your solutions or solve certain problems.
However, a good User Experience is a long-term goal which requires continuity, not only during the developement stages.
My suggestion is stop sending “troops” of analysts to meet with your customer, stop asking for permission to record “a day in the life of…”, stop wondering when a user is available for testing your solution in your lab, but to consider UX Designers as the ideal co-workers and partners living with the problem.
UX Designers should be considered also a service for some periods of time in your hospitals and healthcare centre, UX Designers should be the insider observer of your users.