Alterline recently undertook an Experienced Based Design (EBD) project with the NHS in Trafford. The patient experience we focused on (discharge from hospital) was a complex one for a first-go EBD project – cutting across care pathways, budgets, providers and geographical boundaries. However, the intense focus of EBD on the patient experience held the project on course and provided common ground for discussion.
EBD was developed for the NHS by the Kings Fund. It captures the experiences of patients, carers and staff first through observation and then through filmed interviews. It brings staff and patients together to explore the findings and work together to identify areas that will improve the patient experience.
Videos are key to the power of EBD and the days spent filming with patients were tough going for the team involved; other research methods can’t convey the raw emotion of people’s stories in the way that EBD can. In fact, each time we played back clips, either to the steering group, staff, or other patients there were tears. EBD’s power lies in its ability to humanise a system which is often talked about solely in figures: length of stay, bed hours, money spent etc. and harness that emotion to drive change.
The project has indeed led to change in Trafford: enabling social workers to access electronic patient records; providing a key single contact for patients during the discharge process; a post-discharge contact number for patients; handover meetings between hospital and community staff; a patient-held discharge plan and much more.