Experience-Based Co-Design (EBCD) is unique among other partnership and improvement strategies employed in healthcare. That’s what makes it innovative.

Here are some answers to common questions:

What is the difference between EBCD and other design-thinking approaches being used in healthcare?

“Design-thinking” includes a variety of meaningful strategies to capture the “end user” experience. In healthcare these “users” are typically patients, families and staff. Human-centered design does not typically include the end user in the process of creating or operationalizing solutions.

 Co-design in healthcare challenges us to move beyond designing for patients and families and toward designing with patients and families. It is differentiated from traditional models of organizational-community member partnership because it engages participants in outlining specific opportunities for improvement; identifying priorities; and designing, testing, and evaluating patient experience solutions.

Unlike some other design-thinking approaches, which examine workflow and processes as isolated factors, EBCD also focuses on the lived experience that results from processes and workflow.

What is unique about your approach to EBCD?

Although our approach to co-design is based on the Point of Care Foundation’s structured EBCD model, we recognize the importance of adapting the process to fit the unique culture, priorities, and resource considerations of each organization.  We also incorporate evidence-based processes and tools into our EBCD work. To that end, we utilize human-centered design tools endorsed by the LUMA Institute, as well as the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s PDSA framework to guide the improvement process.

Unique features of our approach to EBCD include:

Modified EBCD cycles offered within a compressed or extended timeline, depending on your organization’s priorities and resources

Consultants with lived experience as both frontline healthcare staff members and patients offer unique insights into the patient and staff experience based on their blended perspectives

Strategic planning for meetings and focus groups to maximize productivity and effectively utilize limited staff time

Integration of EBCD work with your organization’s existing partnership model (i.e., patient and family advisory council) by engaging patient and family advisors in the process

A detailed project report, including a summary of findings, consultant impressions and opportunities for future improvement projects based on our conclusions 

What conditions should we have in place to ensure a successful EBCD project?

To lay the foundation for success, your organization will need to make following commitments :

Establish goals for the EBCD cycle. 

Give leaders and staff members the opportunity to verbalize any concerns about taking on a project of this type so these can be proactively addressed.

Remain open to learning about new aspects of the patient & staff experience that may require attention.

Be prepared to shift your improvement priorities to address these newly identified experience concerns.

Identify internal point persons who have a critical role in managing project timelines and maintaining relationships between stakeholders.

Recognize that the process of collecting experience data and narrowing down opportunities for improvement can be frustrating for participants who are accustomed to shorter-term projects

Trust the process!

How do we determine the size and scope of an initial project?

As part of the project planning phase, the internal team will determine an area of focus. This could be a hospital service line (i.e., breast oncology, outpatient surgery, etc.) or a specific patient population (diabetes, congestive heart failure, etc.). Ideally, the focus area or population selected should include leaders and staff who are eager for change. Our consultants are willing and able to provide input and guidance on determining a focus area, if needed.

How do you assess success?

EBCD is based on a PDSA framework, which includes an evaluation component. Once staff and community members have identified 2-3 priority issues to address as well as aim statements for each issue, they will form smaller, co-design groups to develop and test a solution through a PDSA. As part of the PDSA process, each co-design group will identify a measurement and evaluation strategy.