Purpose of this guide
This guide will help you work with patients to understand their experiences and make improvements to healthcare services.

It provides a range of flexible tools for working effectively with patients in service improvement work. While the focus is on patients themselves, the tools can be equally applied to other groups such as frontline staff, family/whanau, and carers.

Why use this guide?
Healthcare staff have the responsibility of providing high quality, effective and safe care for patients. Yet do you really know if you are achieving that?

Co-design provides you with the methods and tools not only to know how you are doing but to improve your services in such a way that really meets the needs of patients, because they have contributed to the design.

Who this guide is for
This guide will be useful for any operational, clinical or quality staff who want to involve patients in improving healthcare services.

You can use the tools in this guide if you are

  • Starting a new service improvement project.
  • Developing a new process, product or service.
  • Exploring a specific service issue and deciding what to do about it, e.g., reducing waiting times.
  • Wanting to understand services from the patient perspective.
  • Undertaking exploratory work where you may not exactly know the nature of the problem or how you are going to tackle it.
  • Implementing changes.

Examples of when this guide may be useful

  • You are responsible for overseeing the development of a new emergency department. What changes would patients like?
  • You are a nurse manager who wants to make changes to your outpatient clinic. But before you begin, you want to understand what patients think of the services they currently receive.
  • You are managing a service where there are long waits. You want to come up with a way to reduce these.
  • You are a project manager who has been asked to look at the issue of patients who do not turn up for appointments, and then to come up with recommendations.