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UCHD in action: the BOSOP outcomes
Taking the user’s point of view to re-examine the way healthcare is designed led to some innovative techniques.

Patient experience
BOSOP began by encouraging users to tell the stories of their recent experiences of the service, rather than filling out surveys. The project borrowed from other sectors by using ‘mystery shoppers’ to look at existing services from the user’s perspective and comparing guests’ experience of a hotel reception as a starting point for discussion. This led to the use of local theatre group Dead Earnest to throw fresh light on the way staff and patients interact.

Dead Earnest image

Appointment letters
One of the findings from these activities was that people’s anxiety about using services often begins when they receive their appointment letter. These were considered impersonal and potentially confusing. The project asked patients to rewrite the letter in a style that they’d prefer to receive it. A new appointment letter, designed by patients and staff, is now being used in outpatients and is available to NHS managers as a template for other letters.

Waiting times
Another area of concern was long waits to get to the hospital for appointments and back home again afterwards. Patients could often be waiting for several hours either side of their appointments. We’ve proposed the rationale for a completely new system, informed by the BOSOP findings. This would place service users at the centre of the process for booking appointments and transport, and aims to drastically reduce these waiting times.

Appointment Letters image

Road layout and transport
Currently patients arrive at the outpatient building, which contains several departments. Congestion and the road layout often leave patients confused and intimidated, whether arriving on foot or by taxi or car.

BOSOP enabled patients and staff to develop proposals to improve patient experiences. Patients and staff worked with an engineer from Sheffield City Council’s transport and highways department to devise a new road layout, which has been presented to the hospital’s estates team.

Floor Guide image

Environment and facilities
The project also revealed the difficulties patients experience with the physical layout inside the Outpatient department. Out-of-the-way waiting areas and complex queuing systems left people uncertain if they were still ‘in the system’ and due to be seen, or had been overlooked and forgotten about. Prompted by users’ feedback, the hospital installed large mirrors to visually link staff on the corridor with people in an isolated waiting area.

Hospital signs and maps
Similarly, patients often need to get from one department of the hospital to another and BOSOP discovered that the current signs and maps could be more helpful. We proposed the introduction of hand-held maps based on the store guides used by large retailers.

Download the final report summarising the findings of the project, or visit the downloads section for individual resources.

Project updates

BOSOP poster presented at the Professional Services Quality Initiative event
The poster looks at the experiences of 'seldom heard' older people when accessing Medical Outpatients.

Final BOSOP management meeting
This group met to hear about experiences of using outpatients from older people in Sheffield's Pakistani community and older people living in care homes (and their carers).

Better Outpatients: DVD launch
The BOSOP corporate event celebrated the end of the project and launched the 'Outpatients; older peoples stories' DVD.

Better Outpatients: what next?
As BOSOP reaches it's 'official' end here's a brief look at what we've acheived and what happens next.

Better Outpatients: the story so far...
The BOSOP project is now well underway. Here we introduce you to the project and tell you the story so far.

Project downloads

Short Paper at the Participatory Design Conference 2010
UCHD will be presenting a short paper at the Participatory Design Conference 2010 in Sydney.

Journal paper: Design-Led Service Improvement for Older People
UCHD have had a paper published in the Australasian Medical Journal (AMJ).

'A' Road Proposal
A proposal for 'A' Road layout at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield to improve patient experience.

New appointment letter
New appointment letter designed by patients and staff.