Health Care

Putting the patient at the centre:
Building innovation capabilities at St. Joe’s Hospital

St. Joseph’s Health Centre Toronto engaged us to achieve two objectives – develop innovations to reduce hospital readmission rates and build the organization’s human-centred design innovation capabilities. We love this type of project because it combines two key principles for successful innovation work – learn by doing and work on something meaningful.

To address the project challenge, we worked with a cross-functional team that included senior leaders, front-line professionals and administration. Engaging these diverse perspectives was essential to successfully work in this complex hospital environment. The St. Joe’s team participated in the ethnographic research plan development, synthesis and analysis, co-designing engagements with broader staff at the hospital and a collaborative design sprint. The Moment’s team conducted an ethnographic study of patients in a general medicine unit during their discharge experience to understand which patients are more likely to be readmitted and why.

Through the analysis of the ethnographic research, we worked closely with the hospital team to distil research themes into the moments of the patient’s pre-, mid-, and post- discharge experience at St. Joe’s. The team came to a new understanding of the patient readmission challenge. What initially was framed as a post-discharge problem came to be understood as a compounding issue of patient confusion over their entire stay at the hospital. This was the result of extended time without information and context, creating information overload and overwhelm at discharge.

This new understanding became the input into a two-day co-creation design sprint with hospital staff and patients to generate and create low-fidelity prototypes of new solutions. As a result of the design sprint, we created a prototype of a patient tool (the patient “Passport“) to help bridge the information gap that many patients experience while in the hospital. This tool will help patients navigate their surroundings and track what happens to them over the course of their stay at St. Joe’s. The Passport gives patients and their caregivers greater agency to ask the right questions to the right people, to know who’s who on their care team, and to understand and track the medical procedures that they experience.

In addition to the Passport, the St. Joe’s team gained new understanding and experience with the human-centred design innovation process. The team was inspired to explore how to further integrate design thinking into their approach to patient centred care at St. Joe’s. The team is now integrating elements of the Passport into their hospital wide patient handbook. They are very excited to the serve the broad patient population of St. Joe’s!