Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 29-June-2012, Vol 125 No 1357
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Improving healthcare through the use of co-design
Hilary Boyd, Stephen McKernon, Bernie Mullin, Andrew Old
This paper describes how co-design methods can be used to improve patient experiences and services within healthcare organisations. Using the Patient Co-design of Breast Service Project as an example, we describe how patient experiences were captured and understood, the improvements made and implications for future work.
We used a six-step process: engage, plan, explore, develop, decide and change. Tools and techniques employed were based on service design approaches. These included patient journey mapping, experience-based surveys and co-design workshops.
Information, communication, navigation and co-ordination, and environment emerged as key themes for the Breast Service. And as a result, a suite of improvements were made. Key methodological learnings included using co-design alongside traditional quality improvement methodologies, engaging with patients early, the importance of staff buy-in and the necessity of trying things outside one’s comfort zone.
Use of co-design within the Breast Service has resulted in tangible improvements and has demonstrated the value of engaging patients and focussing on their experiences. It is recommended that: evaluation phases are factored into future co-design work, further research is conducted on sustainability and funding and support is given to allow co-design to become more widespread throughout New Zealand.
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