In 2014, Vancouver Coastal Health, Provincial Health Services Authority and Fraser Health collaboratively engaged the Health Design Lab for a design research project that considered how to improve patient experience in hospitals. The primary goal of that “first stage” project was to fully research and explore the problem space, considering in depth how patients feel about, and experience their treatment in hospitals. The project then moved into a second, more applied design phase. Here, results from the previous year informed the development of design outcomes that considered patient engagement and how patient-centred care might be expressed in specific applications.
Questions which formed the basis of the project inquiry included:
- What does patient-centred care look like? What changes would need to be made both by staff and patients to make this cultural shift?
- How can we empower patients to become collaborative participants in their own care? What tools could support patients to take on some of the responsibility for their care?
- How can patients and care providers work more closely together? How can patients contribute effectively and appropriately to the decisions around their care?
- While a complete rethink of a digital platform is out of scope, are there smaller, incremental, and more easily applied changes that could help patients navigate an overwhelming sea of information? Could a set of design principles help guide future designers towards information architecture that supports patients specifically?
- How could we shift the culture towards patient-centred care? If this were to be a province-wide awareness campaign, what would it look like? Who should it be targeted to?
- What changes in communication media and protocols might help facilitate a shift towards patient-centred care? What are the different needs of care workers and patients to communicate effectively with each other?
While existing health systems may treat patient conditions well, emotions are often left for the patient to cope with alone. How could we support this differently?