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Experience based design: a practical method of working with patients to redesign services

John Pickles (Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Luton, UK)
Elaine Hide (Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Luton, UK)
Lynne Maher (NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)

Clinical Governance: An International Journal

ISSN: 1477-7274

Article publication date: 25 January 2008




The purpose of this paper is to describe a study which aims to provide an alternative approach to clinical governance. This involves patients in redesigning services based on their actual experiences of health services. This will be of interest to front line health care staff and public and patient involvement leads.


The paper illustrates Experience Based Design (EBD) as a structured, formal methodology with clearly defined roles, actions and timescales. A case study approach is used to describe the implementation of this model in a District General Hospital.


This study demonstrates how three theoretical components of good design: functionality, engineering and aesthetics can be used as a framework to improve performance, safety and governance and in addition, actual experience of the service for patients and staff.

Research limitations/implications

The case study approach used has provided a good range of learning and transferable information; however, the results are currently based on a single site.

Practical implications

The use of the EBD approach will ensure that healthcare services truly reflect the needs of patients and carers based on their specific experience. It provides a mechanism whereby patients' views contribute fully to the change process leading to safer, more effective and reliable care. This approach will require the application of the non‐clinical competencies included in the Medical Leadership Competency Framework and specific health and wellbeing dimensions in the Knowledge and Skills Framework.


This paper offers a new model that can be incorporated into service redesign. The model enables greater understanding of clinical governance as described by patients through narrative of their actual experiences.



Pickles, J., Hide, E. and Maher, L. (2008), "Experience based design: a practical method of working with patients to redesign services", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 51-58.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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