Health Service Co-Design


Communication websites

Communication websites are a social networking tool where you can share information online about your work with other stakeholders.

Why use it

Communication websites enable ongoing communication between patients, staff and other people involved in your service improvement work. This tool helps people to share their ideas and get fast feedback. It can also be useful for staff to gain an insight into patients' perspectives or develop specific concepts and ideas.

When to use it

You can use this at any stage during your work.

1. Decide on the website's purpose

For example, as a tool to communicate with people on the project's progress or to seek specific comments on an improvement idea.

2. Choose an online site to host your social network

Examples of social networking hosts designed specifically for groups include, and Google Groups.

Note: It is free to set up your social network site with many of the hosts.

3. Develop your content

This may include discussion forums, photos, videos, blogs and events.

4. Invite participants to join

Most social networking host sites will include a way of doing this from within the site.


  • Make sure the people you want to communicate with are computer savvy and have internet access.
  • Update your website regularly and ensure that information is current.
  • Make sure you check the privacy settings of the site carefully. If your project has confidential information that you don?t want available to the public, limit access accordingly.
  • Online communication is an effective way of communicating with stakeholders but it can't replace the richness of information gained from talking or meeting with people in person. Use this tool to supplement other communication and feedback methods.

Example: Gown Design Forum

As part of the Patient Co-design of Breast Service Project, a collaborative piece of work was undertaken between Unitec School of Design and Visual Arts and Waitemata DHB to create an improved gown for mammography in the Waitemata area.

Unitec created a website on to assist with communication. Information posted included photos from workshops, student summaries of issues with gown designs, updates on progress with the work and information on events. Members included staff and students at Unitec, staff and patients at Waitemata DHB and other people who had an interest in the work.