Engaging Patients in Design and Evaluation

I love the site of the Beryl Institute, because every month they publish lots of case studies with best practices in improving patient experience.

beryl institute pexI picked up a particular one of the October update because it deals with a question that is particularly important, which is the engagement in design and evaluation of both, patients and caregivers.

You can read the full case here. The Bridgepoint Hospital in Toronto (Canada) opened a new facility that replaced the old building from 1963.

Patients and prototypes
Interestingly enough, they included patient, but also caregivers in the new hospital design and evaluation. I find it extremely interesting that prior to the actual building, 2 mock facilities were constructed to test use and experience. In innovation management this is what you call a prototype. I am not aware if they used tools like Vaalid, a user experience validation tools that allows to test patient and staff experience before building even a mock.

Bridgepoint Hospital (Toronto) under construction with patient co-design
Bridgepoint Hospital (Toronto) under construction with patient co-design

Once the building was finished, the hospital went into use and the team made a post occupancy evaluation with all stakeholders that helped to change from big things like locating social spaces (cafeteria, etc.) close to hubs of activity or improve the quality of outdoor spaces instead of quantity … to small, but not less important issues like the design of family spaces in the room or places to recharge electric wheelchairs.

Advantages of patient co-design and evaluation
How many times we use a building and think “who the hell designed this?” because we notice that some things are not practical, like too complex paths from point A to B (classically in a hotel from entrance to your room) or, more dramatic, architectonic barriers for elderly or disabled. Not that architects and planners are incompetent: it is virtually impossible even with great experience The Bridgepoint case is instructive because it shows that you can make the best out of planning shortcomings by involving users in the design, work with prototypes and improve even after a user centred design approach with a proper evaluation.

Experiences in the fertility sector
At IVF- SPAIN we worked with former patients before opening, going with them through every step of their patient journey. We could improve devices and even the fact that trolleys could not turn very well at a given corner. We improved the boxes were patients rest after surgery and many small details that are not evident, but that become evident if they are not there.

Rest boxes co-designed with patient insights at IVF-SPAIN
Rest boxes co-designed with patient insights at IVF-SPAIN

Including patients, caregivers and professionals in design is a good co-creation exercise that ensures best patient experience and saves a lot of money.

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