A Ko Awatea paper published in the Patient Experience Journal explores the perspectives of patients and healthcare professionals on how to increase the sustainability of co-design projects.
The paper, ‘Increasing sustainability in co-design projects: a qualitative evaluation of a co-design programme in New Zealand’, is by Lynne Maher, Brooke Hayward and Patricia Hayward of Ko Awatea, and Chris Walsh of the Health Quality & Safety Commission (HQSC). It evaluates nine co-design projects undertaken as part of the third iteration of Partners in Care, a programme developed by HQSC which supports and enables consumer engagement and participation across the health and disability sector in decision-making about their own health and the delivery of health and disability services.
The evaluation used project workbooks and semi-structured interviews with project team members, senior leader sponsors, consumers and the programme facilitator to explore barriers and facilitators to the sustainability of the co-design projects and the Experience-Based Design approach that the teams used.
Dr Maher, the director of innovation at Ko Awatea, says that buy-in from sponsors and senior leaders, support from colleagues, user-friendliness of co-design tools, consumer and staff availability, alignment, and system or culture change were seen as the key factors that influenced project sustainability.
The paper shares five key insights to improve sustainability:
• Establish a clear understanding of roles and how best to work together between the project team and the sponsor from the outset.
• Maintain open communication channels about support needs and project progress to keep sponsors engaged.
• Align projects with organisational priorities and goals to engage sponsors and achieve long-term sustainability.
• Engage with more than one patient on the project team to mitigate any risks associated with patient attrition.
• Ensure more than one staff member builds a rapport with patients to mitigate any risks associated with staff turnover.
“Lack of sustainability is a known risk in any kind of improvement project. Our findings will help healthcare teams working on co-design projects to make the improvements they achieve stick,” says Dr Maher.