Health Care

Changing the conversation:
Human-centred community engagement for long-term visioning

In early 2015, Hamilton Health Sciences was embarking on a long-term clinical services planning process. To develop their plan for the coming 20 years, they asked for our help to gain insights about the needs of patients and their families in their communities. Specifically, HHS wanted a community engagement model where authentic connection and listening could produce powerful insights as key inputs to their planning process.

Unlike the standard “town hall” format, we took a human-centred design approach to get community members sharing their stories, extracting themes, and making thoughtful recommendations. We used a co-creation workshop model where everyone who had a story to tell was heard. Hamilton Health Sciences board members and staff attended each event and sat among the community to listen to their stories, and share in the work of capturing and articulating insights.

With the HHS team, we created a set of community personas and challenge questions that will keep the community voice present throughout the clinical visioning process. The project generated and captured insights into patients needs to inform long-term clinical visioning. The HHS team learned and practiced a human-centred approach to community engagement where patients, families, and the hospital can participate in productive dialogue that is transformative for the relationships between those providing healthcare and those receiving it.