New digital courses for NHS Wales put the patient first

Training for executives and technical staff shows how user-centred design can lead to better health services 

16 February 2022

Digital transformation of healthcare in Wales will not succeed without the input and support of frontline users – patients and clinicians. But executive decision-makers and technical specialists need to be advocates, too, and it’s those stakeholders that the Centre for Digital Public Services (CDPS) has in mind with its latest training offering. 

The pandemic shone a light on the crucial role of digital services in healthcare, and the Welsh Government has identified user-centred service design as a particular development priority. With that in mind, CDPS is offering two new courses from February this year: a user-centred design masterclass, Better health outcomes through patient-centred services, aimed at health board members and other senior decision-makers in the Welsh health sector; and an Introduction to user research (book now), catering to digital experts throughout NHS Wales.  

A young child holding up a 'stay home' card
The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on the crucial role of digital services in the Welsh health sector © Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Run by Lou Downe, former Director of Design for the UK Government and founder of the School of Good Services, the “Better health outcomes through patient-centred services” masterclass seeks to give public health leaders in Wales a good basic understanding of how to build services around the needs of the people who use them (clinicians and patients, in this case). It also aims to turn decision-makers into champions of this approach – one that’s dramatically different from the service design of old that mirrors organisational imperatives and hopes real people will fit in at the end. 

Our introductory user research course, run by the Welsh service design agency Perago and the Agile consultancy Basis, is targeted at digital specialists across NHS Wales: those people building the online services, for example, that keep the Welsh health system ticking over now. These experts, playing crucial roles in an ever more technologically driven sector, will gain from the course a grounding in how to identify user needs through interviews and other research. They will also understand how user research differs from the clinical engagement (understanding the concerns and goals of clinical staff, and vice versa) they may be practising now. 

Below, organisers give more detail about the courses they are running. 

A screengrab of the NHS 11 Wales website
CDPS’s new courses aim to show how user-centred design can lead to better health services in Wales, with patients at their heart

Better health outcomes through patient-centred services 

Lou Downe: In a world of constrained resources, it’s more important than ever to maximise the effect of the health interventions we make. A simple way of doing that is to make sure our best intentions don’t go to waste through poorly designed experiences for patients. We know that billions are wasted in missed appointments, in patients not able to follow guidance or in inefficient processes that don’t help our users to get where they need to be. However, the solution can often seem more complex than it has to. 

This 2-hour course will help healthcare leaders to understand the importance of patient and staff-centred service design and its impact on patients, staff and their organisation. It will show how to extend the efficiency and efficacy of services by improving the non-clinical elements of healthcare journeys simply and easily. 

Introduction to user research 

Perago and Basis: Perago’s roots are in public service delivery in Wales. We support Welsh organisations to deliver better public services, aligning with the Well-being of Future Generations Act. Basis helps public services tackle messy problems through consultation and training; it has been named one of the UK’s top management consultancies for three years running.  

This 3-hour course will be delivered by experienced user research and user centred design practitioners. It will cover practical experience of public-facing service delivery in Wales and the wider UK, including within health. 

You can book the introduction to user research course now. To join the waiting list for any of our courses, or to find out more about them, email learning@digitalpublicservices.gov.wales 

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