Better integrated care: Empowering patients and professionals through co-designed training

I was really excited to design an integrated care project supporting training of professionals and the public.  The aim was to improve the patient experience by empowering patients and families with knowledge and improving understanding of professionals involved in child health to allow more streamlined integrated care for children and young people.

I created a stakeholder group by recruiting colleagues who shared my values of delivering high quality education to professionals and parents to enable better integrated care.  Through collaboration with another PICH participant I was able to effectively involve patients in the design of the training. Exploring my networks, I made connections with the Healthy London Partnership (HLP) and the HENRY charity which supports families to give their children a healthy start in life.

These groups became partners in the project and were able to provide support through ideas, constructive criticism and sharing it with a wider audience.   We gathered data on child health learning needs through a survey of primary care professionals and focus groups with GP trainees and families.  Using this information, we designed the training: a website with e-learning for professionals and resources for families and face-to-face training for professionals to enable better working across traditional boundaries.

The website is currently being developed with resources ranging from graphic animations, ideal consultations and expert advice addressing patient and professional concerns. Feedback from the website and face-to-face training will help evaluate the impact of the initiative.

Top Tips to Share

Take time to find your supporters.

Speaking to other professionals who shared my values was crucial to making the project work.  When I found colleagues who were really interested in the project they were supportive but not afraid to challenge my suggestions and acted as my critical friends.  This meant that I could anticipate problems and brainstorm solutions and create much more valuable and effective training.

Collaborate early. Collaboration with other organisations and another PICH participant enabled better engagement with primary care professionals, patients and parents.  Without this, co-design of the training would have been much harder.

Nurture your relationships. Don’t forget to update your stakeholders regularly, however small you feel their input is.  When I finally got round to updating one of my stakeholders I had inadvertently forgotten I discovered a huge range of support he could offer and how he could get me “unstuck” from some of the many challenges I had faced.

If I could do it all again…

If starting again I would focus on the patient experience first and use this to guide my project.  By involving patients from the very beginning it would be much easier to co-produce any interventions.

I would also try to collaborate with other PICH participants much earlier as the working with a shared aim, values and understanding makes the project much easier, efficient and enjoyable!