Experience-Based Co-Design (EBCD) is an innovative approach to improving the experience for patients, families, and healthcare professionals. 


Developed in the UK, EBCD is an improvement model that partners staff with patients to co-design services. By incorporating several different data-gathering methods, including observation, focus groups, interviews and storytelling, the model moves beyond examining systems or processes and toward designing experiences for patients and staff. Unique among other approaches, EBCD employs storytelling to identify emotional “hot spots” and opportunities for improvement. Sharing stories elicits higher engagement than reviewing quantitative data and is a valuable tool to enable participants connect with their own experience as well as the experiences of others. This approach helps to form connections across healthcare teams and between staff and patients. EBCD also engages patients and family members throughout the improvement process, from identifying opportunities to planning and implementing solutions, illustrating the power of authentic partnership.

The EBCD Cycle

EBCD projects run in cycles. A typical cycle is between 9 and 12 months long and includes a qualitative data-gathering phase and a design phase:

EBCD enables organizations to move beyond the limits of satisfaction surveys by providing real-time, unbiased information on the patient and staff experience.

Staff and patients  participate in dialogue that provides rich insights into the nuance and meaning of patient feedback. This approach complements existing methods of obtaining feedback.

Photo credit: Alvimann

EBCD facilitates team-building.

The collaborative spirit of EBCD has been found to strengthen provider-patient relationships and to facilitate teamwork, improving the interpersonal dynamics of care.

EBCD can be adapted for organizations of any size and experience level. 

Tandem Healthcare Solutions consultants have effectively facilitated EBCD cycles in hospitals large and small, urban and rural. EBCD emphasizes community member engagement, so organizations who are partnering with patients and families for the first time benefit equally as well as those who have Patient and Family Advisory Councils or other partnership models.

Photo credit: DuBoix