Monday, 21 January 2008

Your experience matters

Your experience matters is a collaborative project that the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement is conducting for the head and neck cancer service at Luton & Dunstable Hospital NHS Trust. What’s this got to do with the kidney I hear you say – well read on. The project is testing an evidence based design model to create new methods of understanding experience and for bringing patients, carers and staff together to turn those experiences into real improvement actions.

Experience based design (EBD) is a way of capturing and understanding how users actually feel each time they come into contact with the process, a product, or even a building or environment. It then uses that knowledge to redesign all or part of the process in a way that maximises the positive emotional response of the user.

What’s special about EBD as an improvement tool in healthcare, however, is that it focuses strongly on capturing and understanding patients’ and carers’ experience, not simply their view of the process – for instance the speed and efficiency at which they travelled through the system. Instead, EBD deliberately draws out the subjective, personal feelings a patient or carer experiences at crucial points in the pathway.

It does this by:

  • Encouraging and supporting patients and carers to “tell their stories”.
  • Using these stories to pinpoint those parts of the care pathway where the user’s experience is most powerfully shaped (the touch points).
  • Working with patients, carers and front line staff to redesign these experiences rather than just systems and processes.

In kidney care the experience often is the outcome. Experience based design will help kidney care teams, patients and carers to focus on designing experiences not just processes, systems or the built environment. It's a lot more innovative than traditional process mapping techniques. The approach would almost certainly benefit kidney care. If you want to find out how, read more at: Experience based design: from redesigning the system around the around to co-designing services with the patient (Paul Bates and Glenn Robert)