Patient involvement in rheumatology outpatient service design and delivery: a case study.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Patient involvement is increasingly recognized as important within the UK National Health Service to ensure that services delivered are relevant to users' needs. Organizations are encouraged to work with service users to achieve excellence in care. Patient education can improve health outcomes and reduce health-care costs. Mobile technologies could play a vital role in this.

AIM

Patient-centred development of innovative strategies to improve the experience of rheumatology outpatients.

CASE STUDY

The Group Rheumatology Initiative Involving Patients (GRIIP) project was set up in 2013 as a joint venture between patients, clinicians, academics and management at a London hospital. The project saw (i) the formation of an independent patient group which provided suggestions for service improvement - outcomes included clearer signs in the outpatient waiting area, extended phlebotomy opening hours and better access to podiatry; (ii) a rolling patient educational evening programme initiated in 2014 with topics chosen by patient experts - feedback has been positive and attendance continues to grow; and (iii) a mobile application (app) co-designed with patients launched in 2015 which provides relevant information for outpatient clinic attendees and data capture for clinicians - downloads have steadily increased as users adopt this new technology.

CONCLUSION

Patients can effectively contribute to service improvement provided they are supported, respected as equals, and the organization is willing to undergo a cultural change.

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