Involving patients in service improvement and listening and responding to what they say has played a key part in the redesign of healthcare processes over the past five years and more. Patients and users have attended stakeholder events, participated in discovery interviews, completed surveys, mapped healthcare processes and even designed new hospitals with healthcare staff. However, to date efforts have not necessarily focused on the patient’s experience, beyond asking what was good and what was not. Questions were not asked to find out details of what the experience was or should be like (“experience” being different from “attitudes”) and the information then systematically used to co-design services with patients. Knowledge of the experience, held only by the patient, is unique and precious. In this paper, attention is drawn to the burgeoning discipline of the design sciences and experience-based design, in which the traditional view of the user as a passive recipient of a product or service has begun to give way to the new view of users as integral to the improvement and innovation process.
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Funding: The research on which this paper draws is funded by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.
Competing interests: None.
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