New toolkit helps health workers and patients to co-design a better healthcare experience

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A new Australian-developed toolkit released today by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) and the Consumers Health Forum (CHF) will help individual hospitals and healthcare services to provide better experiences of healthcare for both workers and patients.

Experience-Based Co-Design: a toolkit for Australia guides services in using the expertise and experiences of healthcare staff and patients in a genuine equal and reciprocal relationship to develop a better healthcare experience for all.

The AHHA and CHF, with support from PwC, commissioned Prestantia Health (Adjunct Prof. Paresh Dawda and Dr Andrew Knight) to develop the toolkit.

‘Experience in the UK and New Zealand, from the Point of Care Foundation and Health Care Co-Design, respectively has shown that this approach has resulted in better patient outcomes as well as lifting the morale and productivity of staff’, said Dr Dawda.

‘As healthcare itself moves towards a better focus on the individual patient, both patients and healthcare workers can benefit from having an equal say in genuinely co-designing care to deliver a better experience and better health outcomes overall.

‘This is not always easy—it depends very much on context and shared commitment because it can challenge traditional or existing power relationships within healthcare settings.

‘Accordingly we have adapted overseas experiences as well as our own knowledge to provide a clear five-step process for Australian settings—the toolkit even provides several Australian case studies as examples of what can succeed and what to look out for’, Dr Dawda said.

‘The five steps are broadly, setting up for success, gathering the experience, understanding the experience, improving the experience and then monitoring and maintaining it, with many practical tips for obtaining and retaining ‘buy-in’ and support from all parties.’

CHF Chief Executive Leanne Wells said that making health care more patient-focused ‘is a central aim of meeting modern health care’s quadruple goals of improving patient outcomes, reducing health costs and improving patient experience and staff experience.’

‘We know that winning patient engagement is an important part of effective health care and Experience Based Co-Design can be pivotal in that process.’

AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said that truly understanding patient and staff experiences and emotions, as advocated in the toolkit, was superior to relying on attitudes or opinions.

‘The toolkit leads hospitals and healthcare services down new paths that will result in positive benefits for staff, patients, healthcare services and the health system as a whole’, Ms Verhoeven said.

Experience-Based Co-Design: a toolkit for Australia is available free of charge at

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, and community and primary healthcare services.
The Consumers Health Forum is Australia’s leading advocate on consumer health care issues.

Media enquiries:
Alison Verhoeven, AHHA, 0403 282 501
Mark Metherell, CHF, 0429 111 986