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Reflections on Health Literacy Demonstrator

The Scottish Government and NHS Tayside’s recent showcase of the Health Literacy Demonstrator programme illustrated the clear overlap between healthcare Quality Improvement and service design. 

At Open Change we frequently work in healthcare: from user research to developing creative approaches to problem solving to event facilitation. We’re not healthcare professionals, we’re designers,  so the chance to listen to healthcare experts: nurses, policy makers, managers, consultants and GPs and hear how they are transforming services was not to be missed. 

The Scottish Approach to Service Design #SAtSD principles developed by the User Research and Engagement at The Scottish Government were clearly shared:

FOCUS ON USERS’ NOT ORGANISATIONAL NEEDS
DESIGN WITH CITIZENS
MAKE THINGS SIMPLE AND EASY TO USE

Examples included:

  • Engaging adult learners in field research. People who are currently developing their literacy skills were given a typical appointment letter and tasked with navigating Ninewells, one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe. In addition to producing useable insights, the adult learners felt empowered engaging in the research.
  • Using simple technology to communicate in an engaging and memorable way – videos showing how to use inhalers on kindles and other tablet devices rather than using traditional patient information leaflets.
  • Introducing Teach Back – an empathetic method for checking what the health care professional says, and what the patient hears are the same thing.
  • Developing visualisations of test results to enable patients to understand their diabetes tests, before a GP appointment, so they can lead discussions about medication and lifestyle changes required.

I took sketch notes during the event and the QI team at the Scottish Government compiled a great storify to summarise the event.

Health Literacy Demonstrator Scotland from Hazel White

There’s more about the Health Literacy programme on NHS Education for Scotland’s site at http://www.healthliteracyplace.org.uk

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