Helping our NHS make it easier for patients to consult with their GP

We’ve been working with the University of Oxford and Plymouth University, together with patients and practice staff in Plymouth, to develop online and physical resources that will help patients get the most from the range of remote support tools that they can use to connect with their primary care support teams.

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“Making an appointment sometimes feels like banging my head against a brick wall!”

What we did

We developed a range of resources that include tips, advice and decision trees that show the best way to connect with your GP remotely.

These guides and resources will be available to any patient who needs advice and will also be useful for GPs and other healthcare teams.

We also developed a range of potential design proposals that might improve the patient and GP experience. This included a handy guide to making appointments, an improved website and mobile interface that focuses on the needs and abilities of patients and a telephone service experience that reduces the frustrations of trying to arrange appointments by phone.

We also highlighted practical ways of improving patient and staff knowledge and communications and even suggested the development of a smart interface that could be used at the door of the GP and through outreach at places like soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

How we did it

We ran a face to face workshop with 18 patients in Plymouth, meeting people involved in the local patient practice groups as well as people with additional needs including homeless and excluded groups. We used this to understand how patients arrange their appointments, what they feel about their current experience and their hopes and fears when they think about the future. We also ran parallel sessions with GP staff to understand their perceptions and preferences.

We analysed and synthesised notes from these workshops to identify the key themes, challenges and insights before developing a range of potential design interventions for discussion with the team and with the practice.

Why is design important?

Design helps to break down the complexity of complex systems, focuses on the human qualities of relationships and experiences and provides practical solutions to improve and enhance the physical and digital environments that often get in the way of practitioners and their patients.

We are also keen to show that design can create clarity in the face of complexity, helping patients to voice their hopes and concerns as well as helping researchers and practice staff to get more from their knowledge and experience.

Contact us to learn about about health communication design and co-design workshops

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