The Patient Experience
Patients and their families play a crucial role in the Hospital’s culture and strategy, as well as in leveraging transformation and change in the organisation.
A healthcare model focused on patients and their families
For many years now, SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital has been committed to a healthcare model focused on patients and their families, in which humanised care plays a key role. Our model now straddles two closely related concepts:
- Providing comprehensive care that responds to the needs of patients and families beyond their strictly bio-medical conditions. This comprehensive model covers requirements such as training and the approach to pain, in addition to other factors such as spaces, communications, efficient processes and services that deliver emotional support and well-being to patients and their families.
- Improving this healthcare model based on the needs and experiences that patients and families discuss with us, which help us to bolster and enhance our comprehensive care model. This involves taking the patient experience on board as a key factor in the Hospital’s ongoing innovation and improvement strategy.
The roll-out of the model went alongside developing an ecosystem of involvement (patients, families, employees and other stakeholders), which sets out to promote:
- The empowerment and autonomy of patients and their families (active listening, co-designed training, mutual decision-making, etc.).
- Empathy and co-design with the involvement of people (patient and family surveys that enable us to find out about their experiences and opinions, and pick up on points that could be improved; improvement and innovation projects focused on the Hospital’s different departments and services, which are co-designed by the processes and patient experience teams).
- Listening to what patients and their families have to say about cross-cutting, strategic matters (ongoing advice to families and young people).
Through this commitment, as an organisation we would like to have an impact on its culture, which listens to what people have to say and their needs as the basis for transformation.
Listening to patients as a guideline for leveraging transformation
In order to bring about this focus, experts in design thinking methods joined the Hospital in 2015. Later, they formed a team in the Quality and Patient Experience Department, which is spearheading this culture of the active involvement of patients and their families by working in partnership with healthcare departments, the nursing and medical teams, and other front-line workers.
The main aim of the Patient Experience Department is the co-creation of a care model and to bring about change towards a culture of continuous improvement, a process that entrails two main factors: empathy and design focused on people.
The Department is made up of a team with a wide range of qualifications and additional training in fields such as anthropology, design and engineering, as well as work experience in different sectors that enable then to take on projects with a holistic approach, for which they work alongside the Processes Department and the User Service Department.
What is the patient experience at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital?
The patient experience covers the sum of all the interactions between patients, families and the employees who take care of them, beyond the clinical and bio-medical needs of patients.
In order to focus on patients and their families, and to involve them in giving a suitable response to their needs, it is essential to understand their experiences and to assess our care model. Listening to them and understanding the critical points of their experiences provides us with transformative and strategic insights.
Methodological principles and focus
In order to change, improve and innovate the experiences of patients, their families and employees as a whole (in and outside the Hospital):
- We combine different methods (design thinking, future thinking, agile thinking, etc.) inherent to design, processes, services and experiences.
- We adopt techniques from the fields of the social sciences, psychology and medical examination, as well as creative processes to ascertain needs (pain points, barriers, needs, current and future aspirations).
- We work on projects using co-design, experimentation and interaction.
We focus on people, patients, families and employees
This requires an empathetic, creative, participatory and cooperative frame of mind.
This requires flexibility, drive and interaction to bring about ongoing improvement.
Co-creation dynamics with patients, children, mothers and professionals from the Diagnostic Imaging Service for the project "The new experience and setting of CT (computed tomography)".
Multidisciplinary methodological approach
We work using a process and methodological approach that melds lean management and design thinking by facilitating the interaction between patients and other stakeholders in the design of processes and the patient experience. The lean management approach focuses on fine-tuning processes and their feasibility, whilst design thinking explores and identifies the needs, questions, concerns and preferences of patients and their families.
What techniques do we use?
Depending on the type, the aims, scope and stage of a project, we use a combination of different techniques:
The Department’s main metrics
Patients and families directly involved in projects
Patient and family interviews
Interviews with professionals
Observations to patients, families and professionals
Co-creation dynamics and focus groups with patients, families and professionals
Quantitative assessment surveys
The projects that we work on are carried out with the assistance of the internal processes and user service teams, thanks to infrastructures, systems, innovation, doctors and nurses, patients and families, and external experts. They cover a range of categories:
Exploration and co-design for improving and innovating the surroundings and comfort in treatment rooms.
Exploration and co-design of digital channels for the Hospital and its employees to arrange care and contact patients and their families.
Exploration of hypotheses, endorsements and the generation of know-how to improve and innovate the experience of patients and employees.
Exploration and co-design of solutions for improving and innovating communications, listening, dealings with people, interactions, and the design of new services and other forms of care.
Exploration and co-design of programmes and interventions intended to improve the employee experience.
As a mother and family of a child with JIA, the fact that your referral centre contacts you to listen to you and learn about your situation, and to do so with dynamics where the child and the family are always the protagonists, means that coming to the Hospital is not just a routine check-up but a process of learning, accompaniment and recognition of the reality we live in.
We are increasingly interested in incorporating the voice of our patients into the care model. The Haemophilia Unit has participated in a project with Patient Experience that has allowed us to better understand the concerns and needs of patients and their families and to improve care processes, work spaces, and to devise training in congenital coagulopathies.
As paediatricians, we are aware of the importance of being sensitive to the needs of children, adolescents and their families, and working with them to offer the best possible care. Working with Patient Experience allows us to deepen this relationship and detect unmet needs.
Obesity is a complex disease that is difficult to address and often results in suboptimal outcomes that create suffering and frustration. The Patient Experience team has brought us closer to families to understand and know their needs in order to design appropriate and valuable care that improves their experience, adherence and health outcomes.
In the Mental Health Area, when implementing new projects and reviewing our care processes, the incorporation of the patient's and family's perspective with a rigorous methodology and proven evidence has been a lever for change in order to offer top-quality care.
Understanding the changing needs of our sickle cell patients has helped us to provide more personalised and tailored care. We are very grateful to have been able to work with Patient Experience, a committed team focused on patients and their families, which facilitates fluid and effective communication with the medical team.
Alliances and partnerships
A major aspect of the team’s work involves networking and partnerships. This entails promoting and implementing actions and initiatives common to different services and departments in an organisation, as well as to various external bodies and stakeholders for co-creating value propositions.
These partnerships enable us to exchange points of view, resources and know-how with other domestic and international stakeholders related to the field of healthcare and other sectors (research, innovation, education, technology, etc.). This is why we belong to a work group that is looking into the patient experience of the international network, the European Children’s Hospitals Organisation (ECHO),and we work on projects with businesses and organisations.