Transforming Outpatient Services

Transforming Outpatient Services – Design for Service

Recently I’ve been working with NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government and colleagues and students from the Master of Design Programme at the University of Dundee to re-imagine outpatient services.

In the year ending March 2011 there were 4,558,000 visits to outpatients in Scotland. This is the equivalent of almost every person in Scotland being seen in outpatients once a year. To create a service which meets the expectations of users, providers and commissioners, some radical re-thinking is necessary.

In 2012 the Scottish Governments’ Government’s Quality & Efficiency Support Team (QuEST) and NHS Scotland brought together consultants, GPs patient representatives and service managers from Scotland’s 14 health boards in two half-day workshops with the objective of a radical re-think of outpatient services. I was invited to facilitate the two innovation sessions to develop principles for the 2020 vision of Outpatient Services as outlined by the NHS Primary Care, Community and Outpatients Quality and Efficiency Support Team. A range of design methods were used, including RIP + MIX, speed networking, patient personas and backcasting to enable participants to think creatively about the future. My key takeaways were that the people that we want to take the flak when things go wrong are the people who have the best ideas about how we can be enabled to move beyond a patriarchal system to a place where we can understand and manage our own health. We need to listen to them.

A paper I’m preparing for the Faculty of Pubic Health conference discusses the results of the two workshops, both in terms of the efficacy of the methods which led to rapid sharing of leading-edge practice and the development of themes focussing on empowerment, flexibility and the creative use of technology and draws conclusions on the role and value of design as part of an innovation process in healthcare.

Keywords: facilitating innovation, outpatients, design, innovation methods


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About Hazel White

Director, Open Change
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1 Response to Transforming Outpatient Services

  1. Alasdair McGill says:

    It’s great to see the public sector embracing service design. There are *so many* services that need improved – not just wee tweaks, but radically overhauled. My wife’s grandmother broke a hip just before Christmas and was in Perth Royal Infirmary for 3 weeks over the festive period. To say that the “service” she endured was of third-world standards would not be over-stating things at all.

    I’ll be really interested to hear how your project progresses 🙂

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