Plain English summary Background
Continual improvements to health systems, products, and services are necessary for improvements in health. However, many of these improvements are not incorporated into everyday practice. When designing new health systems, products, and services, involving members of the healthcare community and the public with personal healthcare experience can help to make sure that improvements will be useful and relevant to others like them.
Together with healthcare workers and family members with healthcare experience, we developed and applied a step-by-step guide to involving those with personal experience in the design of health system improvements.
Our guide has three phases— ‘Pre-Design’, ‘Co-Design’, and ‘Post-Design’. This paper describes each of these phases and illustrates how we applied them to our own project, which is to use virtual healthcare methods to improve care for children with chronic healthcare conditions and their families. In our own work, we found that healthcare workers and family members with personal healthcare experiences were able to use their knowledge and creativity to help us imagine how to improve care for children with chronic healthcare conditions and their families. We have created action items from these family member- and healthcare worker-identified needs, which we will use to shape our virtual healthcare system.
This paper may be useful for those seeking to involve members of the healthcare community and the public in the creation of better healthcare systems, products, and services.
Challenges with the adoption, scale, and spread of health innovations represent significant gaps in the evidence-to-practice cycle. In the health innovation design process, a lack of attention paid to the needs of end-users, and subsequent tailoring of innovations to meet these needs, is a possible reason for this deficit. In the creative field of health innovation, which includes the design of healthcare products, systems (governance and organization mechanisms), and services (delivery mechanisms), a framework for both soliciting the needs of end-users and translating these needs into the design of health innovations is needed.
To address this gap, our team developed and applied a seven-step methodological framework, called A Generative Co-Design Framework for Healthcare Innovation. This framework was developed by an interdisciplinary team that included patient partners.
This manuscript contributes a framework and applied exemplar for those seeking to engage end-users in the creative process of healthcare innovation. Through the stages of ‘Pre-Design’, ‘Co-Design’, and ‘Post-Design’, we were able to harness the creative insights of end-users, drawing on their experiences to shape a future state of care. Using an expository example of our own work, the DigiComp Kids project, we illustrate the application of each stage of the Framework.
A Generative Co-Design Framework for Healthcare Innovation provides healthcare innovators, applied health science researchers, clinicians, and quality improvement specialists with a guide to eliciting and incorporating the viewpoints of end-users while distilling practical considerations for healthcare innovation and design.