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#Cocreate Health project maps solutions to clinic folder management

Wednesday, 21 October 2015   (0 Comments)
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Groups enriching the patient Experience Flow with their insights, and coming up with ideas addressing issues at a workshop run by the #Cocreate Health team.


The CCDI is driving a health project that is aimed at finding design solutions to improve the patient experience and folder management system in community healthcare facilities. The #Cocreate project is a partnership with the Dutch company Philips, which brings its significant experience in service design thinking in the healthcare space. 

An interdisciplinary design team was recruited in July to conduct primary research at two clinics – in Delft and in Bellville – to find out how patient folder management systems are linked to waiting time.

The team consists of two behavioural designers, a medical anthropologist, a service designer, and a graphic designer – bringing together people with different strengths and professional viewpoints to cross-pollinate ideas.

“I don’t think that in South Africa there are many organisations who are building these kinds of interdisciplinary design-thinking teams for their projects,” says CCDI Design Support Programme Manager, Gillian Benjamin. “It’s quite rare; and we are embracing this opportunity to pilot different methodologies in our context.”

Their research brief was to map the journey of a patient’s folder through the facility, from the time it was picked up until it was filed away at the end of the patient’s consultation. The mapping tracked what the patient was experiencing and which staff members they engaged with. The research process allowed the team to gain a holistic understanding of the systems that governed the functioning of the clinic.

This research was used to build an Experience Flow – a graphic interpretation of the patient’s journey through the clinic, tracking each stage of the patient’s experience, as well as the staff members they interacted with.


One of the Experience Flows created for the co-design workshop

(View the full image size here)

The Experience Flow was then presented at a co-design workshop, held in August at The Hague Community Hall in Delft. The workshop was attended by a mix of stakeholders including representatives from Provincial Metro Health Management, a diverse mix of representatives from each clinic including clerks, doctors, pharmacists, security and help-desk personnel, and the design team. This diversity of participants allowed each party to gain a deeper understanding of the others’ responsibilities and the challenges they faced.


During the workshop teams analysed the Experience Flow and enriched it with new insights. They then chose a focus area and began to think about ways of changing current issues. Many teams chose to focus on the main reception area where patients retrieve their folders. During this divergent stage teams were invited to think broadly and add as many ideas to the collection without judging or scrutinising them.


The next phase was to converge, to take the wide array of ideas that were generated and select the most viable ones. Ideas were filtered down to those that were most feasible and had the most impact. The day closed with each group presenting their ideas to the rest of the delegates.


“The beauty of the co-design process is that it taps into the incredible knowledge and insights that the staff, who work at the coalface every day, hold about the issues they face. They are the experts in the healthcare facility, not us as the design team,” says Gillian.

“We simply hold up a mirror to help them see what is currently going on in their facility through the creation of an Experience Flow, and then create a facilitated space for them think through possible solutions. This process also means that they will get to implement their own ideas, not ideas that have been imposed on them.”

The shortlist of priority areas for each clinic which was approved by Provincial management included creating time slots for prescription patients, introducing a wayfinding system in the clinic for patients to find their way around more easily and introducing a colour-coding system for patient folders so they cannot be misfiled.


The pilot project is now well into the testing and prototyping phase until its completion at the end of November.

The CCDI is hoping to scale up some of the learnings from the project to other clinics through a collaboration with the City of Cape Town in 2016.


The project was made possible through seed funding from the Dutch Consul General's #cocreateSA fund which supports innovative projects linking Dutch and South African collaborators. 



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