Working as part of a multidisciplinary team, I developed a design-led method for collaborative workshops and system visualisations for the Scottish Access Collaborative (SAC). SAC brings together clinical, managerial, patient, and government representatives from a range of Scottish Healthboards and clinical specialties including Cardiology, Gynaecology, Urology, ENT, and Surgery. My role was to support these groups in visualising their complex and challenging context through pathways and system maps in order to develop cross cutting solutions focusing on an end-to-end system approach. Each workshop uses a range of design methods to map the current landscape, to challenge assumptions, to share good practice, to capture areas of opportunities, to generate ideas in response, and to identify meaningful change.
At the start of the process, every specialty group works together to agree on the most common or most troublesome symptoms presenting to their services. The aim is to develop a shared high level understanding of the current state of care by visualising some of the common examples of existing pathways, by comparing variation across Scotland and noting local innovations, and by exploring the people, places, equipment, and actions involved in each symptom pathway.
This discussion then helps to identify a set of key issues the specialty group would like to work on in the following weeks. Using visual tools, the group illustrates and locates key issues within existing symptom pathways, and considers issues from different perspectives such as GP, patient, consultant, manager, physiotherapist, or dietician. Many of the issues highlighted stand out as being challenges for more than one symptom and from more than one perspective, and these cross-cutting themes are key areas for improvement and could deliver significant impact for patients and staff.
Next, each specialty group translates these key issues into a number of challenges starting with "how might we...?". After prioritising and selecting these challenges, people form small groups and start considering the improvements which could respond to their chosen challenge. The outcome is a series of agreed recommendations and ideas for service improvements most likely to make a difference to patients and staff.
The recommendations and ideas detailed in each specialty report will now be taken forward with national support through the Scottish Government's Combined Action Group. To find out more, visit http://bit.ly/accesscollaborative.