Jim Ritchie

January 28, 2022

User Experiences informing Digital Governance

Many NHS organisations, from NHS England to provider organisations, use patient stories to help drive improvement. These are described as:

personal accounts of healthcare experiences, shared in a patient's own words

These stories can be positive, negative or mixed. Used well, patient stories allow staff to better

  • learn about real life experiences of patient journeys
  • understand experiences during the whole or parts of these journeys
  • to gain insight into need for and impact of service improvements

Anyone who has seen, heard or read these stories will understand the impact they can have.

As healthcare adopts more dynamic and user centred approaches to delivery, many people will be increasingly comfy with the Agile concept of user stories. These describe end users, their needs and the reasons behind these, in natural language giving a simplified description of a requirement. 
Well written user stories are powerful tools to support delivery and prioritise focussed opportunities for improvement, but (in isolation) don't really help communicate how these fit into a bigger picture.

To try and close this gap, we're now going to try opening our digital meetings with descriptions of user experiences.

  • what is the real life experience of using hardware and software
  • what works and doesn't work. Where this makes working lives harder, what is the impact on staff and patients
  • is our planned work going to help solve these sorts of problems
  • how do we scale and build on good experiences

I hope that combining these insights at the same time as helping our digital teams to spend more time observing clinical areas will make everything more grounded in what our teams need. We've only just started to use this model, but it seems like a great tool to create focus and highlight system issues. I would love know if others have tried this or similar approaches and what the impact has been.