Every year, millions of patients suffer harm during their healthcare experience.
"In high-income countries, it is estimated that one in every 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care. The harm can be caused by a range of adverse events, with nearly 50% of them being preventable."
World Health Organization, 2019
Problems such as:
poor patient and/or employee experiences and satisfaction
poor employee morale and performance
broken systems and processes
tasks, projects and initiatives that do not deliver on their goal, go over budget or take longer than planned.
We understand that you may:
have time and/or money constraints.
be expected to do more with less.
be too busy to innovate and improve.
need help to understand the true context.
need help to build awareness of what is working and/or not working.
need help to break silos and improve communication between teams and strategic partners.
We get it. Every industry and service we have worked with has similar problems.
What if you could:
- prevent problems from happening or existing?
- move from a reactive place to a proactive place?
- cross-pollinate ideas and insights to improve the unspoken or unknown?
- reveal the obvious that is being overlooked?
- view the problem differently, identifying problems and solutions faster and better, using real patient and/or employee data?
We believe and have experienced that through putting people at the heart of how you do things, you will create a more positive workplace and patient experience.
Here is an example of empathising with patients by putting them at the heart of problem solving to improve their experience. Consider a patient entering a waiting room. Through our process, we seek to understand what a patient thinks, feels and does as they experience the service.
Using this understanding of their experience, our process allows us to identify strategies to improve their experience. For example the service could:
- Clearly indicate with arrows on the floor where the reception counter is and have markings as to where people can queue. This will help them not feel confused and they will feel supported from the beginning that your service is making their lives easier.
- Include a wait-time sign on the reception counter so that patients have an approximate waiting duration and outline what they can do if they need immediate assistance. This way you give patients permission to ask for help and not “burden” the receptionist, relieving them of frustration and anxiety.
It is an approach to problem solving that develops solutions by involving the human perspective in all steps.
We will guide you through our highly effective, 5 day, human-centred design process to discover practical strategies, relevant to your specific context, which will make a positive difference to the problem you wish to solve.
As we work with you to assess your current context and help you identify where you want to be, we will reveal strategies to close the gap.
Strategies will encompass the lens of:
Your customised report will recommend practical strategies for you to implement and guide your next steps for each of these lenses.
Through our research we have found that questions like, “Were you happy with the level of healthcare you received at our practice?” and “How can we improve?” do not reveal the true patient experience. They are not framed in a way that can elicit tangible specifics from a patient that enable healthcare services to take action on.
These more effective questions to ask patients, revealed through our process, extract more specific feedback:
"At any point during your experience did you feel uncomfortable? If ‘yes’, what specifically made you feel this way?"
"At any point during your experience did you feel frustrated? If ‘yes’, what specifically made you feel this way?"
"At any point during your experience did you feel uncared for? If ‘yes’, what specifically made you feel this way?"
"Did you feel that the practitioner did everything within their control to help you to the best of their ability? If ‘no’, what specifically could the practitioner have done differently?"
"Do you feel that you are clear on the next steps for your health journey? If ‘no’, what specific questions or clarity is missing for you?"
Through our insights we discovered that patients were satisfied when:
- the practitioner asked open-ended questions. E.g. A practitioner saying, “Tell me more about that.”
- the practitioner empathised with them. E.g. A practitioner saying, “I understand that must be difficult for you.”
- the practitioner made eye contact with them.
- the practitioner explained things in simple language and not from their professional/expert terminology.
- the practitioner had open body language.
- the practitioner was kind, yet assertive and confident.
- the practitioner was calm and present.
- the interaction with the practitioner took place in a private space.
- no topic with the practitioner was taboo.
- the practitioner included the patient’s carers/loved ones in the discussion.
Patients were unsatisfied by:
- practitioners making jokes about emotional/sensitive topics due to their own discomfort around the patient’s situation.
- practitioners not providing the detail requested by the patient. E.g. A practitioner saying, “I don’t have the scan to show you but I can tell you that...”
- practitioners not preparing for/requesting the documents for the consult.
- not being taken seriously.
- a lack of empathy and connection from the practitioner and/or receptionist.
- long wait times (especially with no apology).
The common experience for patients who were asked the more effective questions was that they "felt heard".
“The oncologist told us that my dad was not ready for palliative care, despite us expressing our concerns. He died shortly after that appointment and we struggled to provide him with what he needed to die peacefully.”Anonymous
“The doctor was sitting back casually in his chair and making jokes during a very serious appointment about my dad’s terminal cancer. The doctor didn't make eye contact with my dad or us. He seemed extremely uncomfortable about dad’s terminal cancer diagnosis, avoiding the issue and in turn did not support us like we needed.”Anonymous
“I was brought by ambulance to the hospital and I was only in the door when I was handed an invoice. I felt that them getting paid was more important than supporting my health.”Anonymous
“The nurse came around to do her checks and complained about her stressful day, sharing that she couldn't wait to get home to a glass of wine. I felt disrespected and unseen considering I was lying in a hospital bed.”Anonymous
“My dad was experiencing severe cancer related symptoms and the only solution provided was to go to emergency. This resulted in him sitting with a room of sick people for hours, which was very scary for us as he had basically no immune system. ”Anonymous
“The triage nurse cut me off before I could finish explaining why I had come to the emergency department. I felt like I was wasting their time.”Anonymous
“The doctor was very quick to disregard my concerns. He made me feel like I was overreacting and that I didn’t know what was and wasn’t normal for my own body.”Anonymous
“I was being proactive about my health by asking the doctor what checks I could get to make sure I was healthy and had no issues I was unaware of. I felt stupid and frustrated when the doctor laughed at me, saying I was young and only to worry if I had symptoms.”Anonymous
“I sought a second opinion from a new doctor and he immediately told me that my usual doctor had incorrectly diagnosed me but had no suggestions on what the correct diagnosis was. I felt confused and helpless.”Anonymous
“I was struggling to find the specialist clinic within a hospital and I had to ask 3 different staff members for directions as they kept sending me in circles. I was already nervous for my appointment. The added stress and frustration did not help.”Anonymous
- Public, private and not-for-profit healthcare services
- Healthcare education and training teams
- Healthcare technology and systems teams
- Healthcare support groups
- Healthcare improvement and project teams
- Businesses and consultants that support the healthcare industry to be better
- 1 x discovery workshop with your stakeholders, virtually conducted by our human-centred design practitioners.
- 5 x patient/employee interviews, virtually conducted by our human-centred design practitioners.
- Up to 3 x patient/employee user personas (These answer the question, “Who are we serving?”.).
- 1 x brainstorming session with your team, virtually conducted by our human-centred design practitioners.
- 1 x customised report that shares how you might improve the problem, with recommended and actionable strategies (immediate, medium-term and long-term) to guide your next steps.
- 8 hours of coaching to be used as you wish within 3 months of starting the process.
Can you help us create, build and implement the recommended solutions?
Yes. As we work through the process, we can chat about how we can support you post this specific engagement. We will discuss solutions with you later in the process. If we start talking about solutions now it will defeat the purpose of the process and may mean we are not solving the right problem or creating the most effective solutions.
What if we want to do more than what is mentioned on this page (e.g. conduct more workshops, user interviews, or add in user observations)?
That's great! Let us know and we can customise your investment to suit your needs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if we cannot gain access to our patients/employees?
That’s ok. There are alternative approaches. For example, activities can be based on known knowledge, allowing you to empathise to a certain extent without jumping in and solving problems/creating change without considering them at all. User interviews can also be replaced with paper or electronic surveys.
What level of detail can I expect from the report?
Like in the example of the patient waiting rooms experience, we will share strategies for how you might solve the problems that are identified. We would not implement these strategies for you by creating the signs or placing arrows on the floor. In the example of the patient feedback surveys, we would recommend that you improve your survey questions with an example and you would need to engage us through a new initiative to have us write the questions for you.
Do we have to complete this within 5 consecutive days?
No. It takes 5 days to complete the work and you can spread them out to suit your priorities and availabilities. You are not required for all 5 days. View 'The process' diagram earlier up the page for your time commitment.
Can you do in-person workshops?
Yep. You will need to cover the costs for any travel such as flights, accomodation, parking and commute time where we are required to travel outside of South East Queensland, Australia.
What is the investment?
AUD$21,230 exc. GST.
You donate 10% of profits to Palliative Care QLD?
Yes we do. This specific service is an extension to our business as usual activities. Our team have been personally impacted by poor experiences in the healthcare industry, with one experience of patient neglect leading to the sooner than necessary death of a loved one. As a result, we want to prevent this from happening to others by helping healthcare services and professionals to improve their patient care through this service and by donating to causes in the industry that we care about.
What are your payment terms?
We accept credit card or direct deposit. You will be required to pay 50% upfront and 50% upon delivery of the report. When you click to "Start the process now", you will be given the next steps to process payments.
World Health Organization, 2019. Patient Safety. [online] Who.int. Available at: <https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/patient-safety> [Accessed 15 February 2021].