September 6, 2023

Co-designing with consumers

The Clinical Leadership, Effectiveness and Outcomes (CLEO) team recently began a co-design project to recognise the value of lived experience and create safer, higher quality and more efficient care.

Known as the Co-Design with Consumers@Northern Health project, the project aims to create and implement a co-design framework and toolkit that will support clinicians and non-clinical staff to work confidently and effectively with consumers and/or carers with lived experience when designing or redesigning models of care.

This framework will provide staff with a convenient reference to equip them with the tools and approach to deliver improved experiences. The toolkit will provide access to training, education and resources and support from trained Northern Health co-design champions.

Patient outcomes are the ultimate goal for any healthcare intervention, and co-design plays an integral role in improving them.

Co-design is a collaborative approach that involves partnering consumers with lived experience together with stakeholders with professional experience to design and develop healthcare services, products, or solutions using shared decision making. It plays a major role in the future of effective healthcare, enables consumers who are most affected by a design or policy to become equal partners and ensures solutions are developed to meet the needs of the people they’re impacting.

The concept of co-design is rooted in the belief that the best healthcare solutions are those co-created with the people they are meant to serve. Dr Bill Shearer, Executive Director, Transformation Quality and Safety, said co-design is a powerful tool in continuing Northern Health’s transformation journey.

“The principles and methodologies of co-design are the perfect expression of our organisational values of safe, kind and particularly together,” he said.

The CLEO team joined forces with Patient Experience, Mental Health representatives and consumers to form a working group to identify and co-produce the structure and development of resource content.

As part of the project, 12 Northern Health staff members were invited to attend a two-day co-design training workshop in June that was led by Professor Sonja Pedell and Gareth Priday from Swinburne University Future Self and Design Living Lab.

The workshop covered co-design principles and methodologies, how to use co-design within Northern Health projects and quality improvement service redesign, how to run a co-design workshop with consumers with lived experience, and preparing co-design resources.

After the success of the first workshop, there will be another opportunity for staff to attend the training in November later this year. These participants will go on to become our Northern Health co-design champions.

Kathy Varnava, Patient Experience and Consumer Participation Manager, said placing patients and their families at the heart of the design process and fostering patient-centred care, healthcare providers can gain valuable insights into the experiences, concerns and needs of those aim to assist, leading to tailored and empathetic care.

Consumers with lived experience who participate in co-design projects provide an opportunity to support any project design. Staff have the opportunity to listen and learn from the consumers experience, to enhance the planned goals and outcomes for projects being designed that ultimately will improve health care service delivery for all patients at Northern Health,” she said.

If you are interested in becoming a Northern Health co-design champion and attending the training workshop in November this year, please complete the expression of interest form.

Featured image: CLEO team.