1. Identify and profile service scenarios of interest
Identify the service times and places where the issues occur or where you would like to make improvements. If you have explored patient experiences, you will be aware of the times and places where difficult experiences occur.
To create a scenario, simply list the elements of the scene, including anything that contributes to patient difficulties. To help, you might imagine you are setting up a film or stage set. What things and people need to be there, and how are they arranged? What happens in the scenario?
It is useful to avoid 'average' or 'typical' scenarios - be more specific and use extremes to accentuate and explore issues. For example, if the scenario is based on an outpatients clinic, make it very busy ? noisy, full, long queues, stressed staff, anxious patients and so on.
Make sure you focus on the exact time and place. For example, if you are exploring letters written to patients, base your scenario in a kitchen or living room where the letter might be read.
It can be very helpful to quickly sketch the scenario and make notes next to it - this helps document what it is and why you are exploring it. Then evolve the sketch as you learn - it's a very easy way to record your learnings. Keep your sketches very basic - don't worry how pretty the sketch looks.
2. Identify and profile patient and staff personas of interest
When you have your scenarios, develop your patient and staff personas.
Start by giving the person a name and then bring them to life. List their demographic qualities (age, gender, ethnicity and education); their physique with their physical abilities; their psychological state and abilities and their social supports. Do this for both patients and staff.
It can be very useful to sketch the persona (stick figures with a bit of detail are fine). Sketching often helps make the person more real.
3. Create full scenarios with personas
To create a full scenario with personas, start by taking a basic scenario and putting the relevant personas into it to develop a brief story about how things would normally work. As you do this, include issues and how staff and patient personas react to them.
Example: scenario with persona
Scenario: a patient is in bed on a shared ward. It is visiting hours and the room is full of visitors.
Persona: The patient has had a sleepless night and is distressed by the noise and activity of the visitors. She calls a stressed staff member and complains. The staff member feels powerless and somewhat annoyed but tries to respond positively.
4. Insert an improvement and experiment with it
To use the scenarios and personas to evolve an improvement, start by inserting the idea into the scenario. For example, the improvement might be a heavy, sound-deadening curtain that closes around a patient?s bed space.
Example: adding an improvement
The patient might ask a visitor to close the curtain for them. Or the staff member might agree that the room is noisy and close the curtain. Or the patient might try to get out of bed and close the curtain themselves.
Each of the variations in the scenario helps you to explore an idea and its implications. For example, a curtain might need to be especially high to help block out noise. It might need a special track to make it easy for a patient to open and close. Its outer face might feature a request for visitors to talk quietly.
Scenarios and personas allow you to experiment, create, learn and evolve your improvement ideas in a realistic way quickly and easily. There are no right or wrong answers, so be brave and explore freely.
05. Document your work
Make sure you document your scenarios and any implications or new ideas. It often helps to have a note-taker observing the 'scenario team' as they imagine the scenario, so the latter can concentrate fully on this.
You can use the scenario template below to develop a comprehensive range of scenarios and personas that explore an issue or improvement idea fully.