Dr Dave Pao

PhD Work


How can design help us see and hear the patient perspective of illness?

How we feel about our own health can be very different from what our doctor thinks. We often think in vulnerable, intimate narrative whilst medicine has a tendency towards fact.

Here, the wall poster describes the psychological response to being diagnosed with HIV infection, from the medical perspective.

Put on the ‘stethosphone’ and compare this to what the patient is actually thinking and feeling.

Each audio clip lasts between 20 and 30 seconds.


  • PhD


    School of Design


    Innovation Design Engineering, 2013–

  • Dave is a practising doctor in the field of sexual health and HIV medicine, with a clinical research MD from University College London (2012). Alongside his medical work, he is undertaking a PhD-by-practice in Innovation Design at the Royal College of Art.

    Dave's research at the RCA acknowledges the critical influence of the medical record on the quality of the clinician-patient consultation. He is exploring the impact of the shift from paper to digital records, through the affordances inherent to these very different media.

    His longer-term research view acknowledges the rapid rise in patient-held health records, and he envisions a landscape where patient and clinician involvement in medicine will begin to merge, played out though shared interfaces.

    How can such interfaces best represent the patient history from both medical and narrative perspectives, and what would they look like?

  • Degrees

  • Medicine (MBBS), University of London, 1995; Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP), London, 1999; Research MD [Infection], University College London, 2012
  • Experience

  • Internal Medicine, NHS, 1995–1999; Genitourinary / HIV Medicine, NHS, 1999 – present; Innovation Design, RCA, 2013 – 2018
  • Exhibitions

  • Artifact, Imperial College, 2013