Health Service Co-Design


Planning workshops

At planning workshops people with an interest in the improvement work meet together share information and come up with a plan for how the work can be done.

Workshops are usually run by a facilitator and involve lots of discussion.

Why use it

Service improvement work is often defined by what an organisation wants to do and/or what it thinks will work. This tool invites you to take a bigger picture and longer term view of the health conditions and services you are working with.

When to use it

Use this tool when you need to plan out how you are going to do your service improvement work.

A planning workshop will help you:

  • Understand where to focus your efforts. In particular, it helps clarify what your organisation can and should do, what it can do but is not a priority, and what it can?t do that remains important
  • Build a robust and focused plan for your service improvement work
  • Ensure the plan is clearly understood by the project team and stakeholders
  • Get buy-in and ownership from everyone early on.

1. Identify the key participants

  • Identify the owners of the project and the key decision-makers
  • Identify the people and groups who have a stake in the results of the work
  • Identify who else needs to be informed of the project and its results
  • Now review your lists and decide who should be invited to the workshop. Make a separate list of those who do not need to attend but should be informed of progress.

2. Develop a workshop agenda

For example, you might suggest it will cover the desired project outcomes for patients, the required service outputs and the key project goals.

3. Invite attendees

Invite people to attend the workshop and send them an agenda. Make arrangements for the venue, transport, refreshments and any other needs.

4. Run the workshop

Use the planning workshop template below to run the workshop.

5. Review

Review the contents of the planning workshop template and agree on a final version.

Planning workshop template

Template Instructions

1. Identify the desired patient outcomes
  • What are the desired outcomes of this work for the patients and their communities?
  • Patient outcomes are both personal and community health outcomes, measurable in terms of the health status of individuals and populations. These may take years or decades to establish, so they imply sustained service provision.
  • Patient outcomes may be expressed as qualitative and/or quantitative targets.
2. Identify the desired service outputs
  • What outputs are needed in the next few years to achieve the patient outcomes identified above?
  • Outputs are immediate and direct results of the service delivery.
3. Identify the improvement goals
  • What goals are needed to achieve the service outputs?
  • Include improvements in existing services or possible new service elements.
  • Identify as many specific goals as you want, then narrow these down to two or three key goals.


  • Include stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines
  • Encourage external stakeholder input during discussion of outcomes
  • Work visually as much as possible. This simplifies the workshop process and encourages active participation throughout
  • Use the planning workshop template to communicate progress and issues throughout the project