Maryborough District Health Service

A track record of design, experimentation and innovation success for over 10 years.

Designing world-class patient experiences for a rural community

The Brief

When faced with ‘hard’ truths, it’s tempting for organisations to find band-aid solutions for problems or ignore the issue completely. What’s difficult is digging deeper to find the why of the problem and committing to creating significant change.

This is what the team at Maryborough District Health Service (MDHS) recently did in partnership with Naked Ambition. Through an exercise of primary and secondary research, analysis, customer journey mapping, co-design and prototyping of customer’s first experiences, we helped MDHS move from their ‘old story’ to a new story, with tried and tested strategies to engage MDHS patients and carers in the ways most important to them.

This is a new chapter and era of healthcare for the Maryborough community, patients, and people.

The Creative Process

The customer experience work completed to date has been an exercise in deep listening, analysis, and creating a series of possible futures that were then tested with customers. This work forms the foundation of the new experiences and innovation opportunities that the leadership team plans to invest in at MDHS over the coming years, and will inform decisions about the strategy, transformation, and new build.

Together, MDHS and Naked Ambition employed a three-step process to understand MDHS’s current customer base, map their customer’s journeys and current story, and co-design new experiences for MDHS patients and people.

1. Using Personas to understand MDHS patients

Informed by research, Personas are a frame of reference for connecting to the circumstances, goals, and habits of the intended user. Together with Naked Ambition, MDHS developed five Personas to inform the development of the concepts in the design phase (co-designing workshops and framing the patient experience journeys).

The Personas are representative of the following cohorts based on primary research conducted:

  • Oncology patient
  • Dialysis patient
  • Day Surgery patient
  • Urgent Care patient
  • Urgent-to-Acute Care patient & carer

2. Customer Journey Mapping to understand the Current Story

From data collected and using the Personas, the current state journeys for the Urgent Care, Acute (Oncology & Dialysis) and Day Surgery experience were mapped. Customer journeys detail a typical patient experience based on the Personas created from patient interviews. They also illustrate pain points, needs and opportunities across an experience.

In the case of this work, we looked at

  • Acute Care journey – Oncology & Dialysis
  • Acute Care journey – Day Surgery
  • Urgent Care journey

Patients and the People of MDHS were all so eager to tell their stories and be part of this change. Through this deep listening exercise, three areas were chosen as a focus for the next stage of the project, framed through the lens of ‘how might we’:

  1. How might we provide dialysis patients with the feeling of choice and privacy so that they have a dignified care experience in the hospital?
  2. How might we welcome day-surgery patients into the hospital so that they feel agency, privacy, and freedom?
  3. How might we foster communication with the carer so that there is clarity about the patient’s condition?

3. Future State Narratives to prototype a New Story for MDHS

Based on the three selected opportunity areas, a future state experience was created for each of the Dialysis, Day Surgery and Carer experiences. These ‘Signature Experiences’ were co-created with MDHS people and patients and then tested. Over 60 MDHS patients, staff, and community representatives contributed to the co-design and testing of the concepts, driven by the customer journeys which represent the current state (old story) moving to Future State Narratives (new story).

The features tested represented several of the initial insights and status of the main concepts explored. Aside from health outcomes, the Signature Experiences focus on what MDHS patients, people, and the community most desired – Privacy, Agency, and Freedom.

The Results

As a result of this process, MDHS now has a much clearer picture of what their customers and community most value, with the customer journey mapping and MDHS Personas being deployed across the communications strategy and continuing to influence key projects. The three Signature Experiences have been allocated for delivery across three horizons.

Additional outcomes include:

  • A new strategic plan with a clear purpose, vision, values, promises and direction which starts with their clients – the Maryborough community’s voice and feedback are living in MDHS’s strategic plan
  • A master plan for the sustainable redevelopment of the hospital
  • Funding to create positive change in health outcomes for the Maryborough community

The work completed to date is changing Maryborough from the old story to a new story – and has the potential to lead the region and the way for other hospitals and healthcare providers to do the same.

“We are thrilled with this work. We would never have been able to do this on our own. Being able to engage Naked Ambition meant we have something that we can template and this work will drive us forward into the future.” – Nickola Allan

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