What user-centred design does is manage that risk and bridge the gap between our intentions and what actually happens. It helps us to understand what our intent looks like within the reality of the NHS and helps us to make sure that as we develop products and services, they will deliver on that intent.
Skilled user research, content and design professionals continually provide feedback to help establish whether we’re achieving what we set out to and adapt the design until we have confidence that it works.
Without user-centred design, we do not know whether we’re delivering the right thing and achieving the outcomes we intend to. User-centred design helps us manage the risk of delivering the wrong thing and, in turn, not achieving the outcomes for the health and care system that we’re commissioned to deliver. It also is a key part of assurance processes within the system.
At NHS Digital we have developed a user-centred design maturity model to help teams manage this risk.
It’s a tool to:
- facilitate team conversations about how user-centred they are
- establish where teams currently sit on the user-centred design maturity ladder and where they want to be
- support teams to develop an action plan to get there
To implement that action plan the tool provides further support, links into user-centred-design communities of practice and practical advice on how to grow their ability to embed user-centred design into delivery.
Since we developed it, the Laura Wade-Gery report on the transformation of the NHS has been published. A core part of the report’s recommendations is to work in a user-centred way.
It recommends that the NHS:
- ‘adopt a user, patient and citizen centred approach'
- ‘foster a more agile and flexible workplace focused on meeting user needs’
- ‘ensure that those in decision making positions are constantly aware of the day-to-day reality of the citizen experience, and make real the commitment to a patient and citizen centred approach’
Our model has not only helped to mature user-centred design in NHS Digital, it can also help the wider system deliver on the recommendations of this report.