Co-design is a method for partnering with patients, consumers and service users right from the beginning of service planning to ensure a closer alignment of service delivery with what will work best for service users.
First developed in the UK about 15 years ago, the concept of co-design, (also sometimes called co-production, co-creation or experiential co-design) has been adapted and used to assist with designing health services in New Zealand since 2008.
Traditionally, groups of managers, clinicians and service planners sit down and review or plan a new service based on their experience and expertise, and as planning progresses, patient groups and the sector may be consulted.
Experience-based co-design is a method for turning this around and partnering with patients, consumers and service users right from the beginning of service planning to ensure a closer alignment of service delivery with what will work best for service users.
The following tips are extracted from an article on the Ko Awatea website.
Six tips on co-design
1. See co-design as part of a wider process. The first part of the process is to identify a challenge or opportunity for improvement. The second part is to engage consumers, family and staff, and the third part is to capture their experiences of the care journey. The fourth part is to create new understanding of the care journey and the emotions associated with it by learning from the experiences captured. The fifth part of the process is for consumers, families and staff to work together to plan and implement ideas for improvement based on their deeper understanding of the care journey. The final part is to review what difference improvements have made.
2. Take the time to explain to people why you need their involvement. People whose main role is not working in healthcare often need help to understand why you are looking at a care pathway or service and how they might contribute from their unique perspective.
3. Consider where to hold meetings. Community halls, churches and local venues are often less intimidating than the clinical environment for consumers and family members. Remember to plan meetings and discussions in advance so that everyone, especially consumers and families, can organise other things in their lives to be able to contribute.
4. Ask four or five people to work with you rather than just one person. Consumers and their family members often feel isolated and vulnerable if they are a lone voice. Remember that consumers may need to withdraw at any time because of their health conditions or other personal circumstances, which is another reason to attract more than one to help you.
5. Always let people know the outcome of the work. Even if they have only been involved for a short period of time, a thank you card with an update on the improvement is always welcomed.
6. Cherish emotions. While you will collect a range of data to understand the baseline and measure the improvement, do not lose the rich emotional data that comes through the stories and quotes gathered from consumers, family and staff. It is these that often depict the emotional journey of the care pathway and really connect with us all – they are priceless.
Read the full article by Dr Lynne Maher, Ko Awatea