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Abstract

The Health Quality & Safety Commission New Zealand commissioned Ko Awatea, an innovation and improvement centre, to deliver a co-design programme to nine teams of healthcare providers. The co-design programme was part of Partners in Care, a broader programme developed in 2012 to support and enable patient engagement and participation across the health and disability sector. Teams received training, guidance and mentorship in Experience Based Design (EBD) methodology.1 We evaluated the co-design programme to explore barriers and facilitators to the sustainability of the co-design projects and the EBD approach. The evaluation involved seventeen semi-structured interviews with programme participants, including seven team members, five sponsors, four patients and the programme facilitator. A further two team members provided written feedback. Eight teams provided completed workbooks. Data from the interviews and workbooks was thematically analysed. Team members saw support from sponsors as important to increase visibility and successful completion of co-design projects, mitigate barriers, and to secure resources and buy-in from peers. Five of nine participating teams reported dissatisfaction with the support received. Communication and competing priorities were challenges to sponsor engagement. Sharing co-design skills with peers and alignment with organisational strategy were seen as important for sustainability. Teams identified lack of secured resources or staff time, and consumer or staff attrition as key barriers to sustainability. The conclusion: buy-in from sponsors and senior leaders, support from colleagues, user-friendliness of co-design tools, consumer and staff availability, alignment, and system or culture change were key factors that influenced project sustainability.

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