Background: Harm from medications is a major patient safety challenge. Most adverse drug events arise when a medication is prescribed or reevaluated. Therefore, interventions in this area may improve patient safety. A medication plan, that is, a plan for continued treatment with medications, may support patient safety. Participation of patients in the design of health care products or services may improve patient safety. Co-design, as in the Double Diamond framework from the Design Council, England, can emphasize patient involvement. As the COVID-19 pandemic brought restrictions to face-to-face co-design approaches, interest in remote approaches increased. However, it is uncertain how best to perform remote co-design. Therefore, we explored a remote approach, which brought together older persons and health care professionals to co-design a medication plan prototype in the electronic health record, aiming to support patient safety.
Objective: This study aimed to describe how remote co-design was applied to create a medication plan prototype and to explore participants' experiences with this approach.
Methods: Within a case study design, we explored the experiences of a remote co-design initiative with 14 participants in a regional health care system in southern Sweden. Using descriptive statistics, quantitative data from questionnaires and web-based workshop timestamps were analyzed. A thematic analysis of the qualitative data gathered from workshops, interviews, and free-text responses to the survey questions was performed. Qualitative and quantitative data were compared side by side in the discussion.
Results: The analysis of the questionnaires revealed that the participants rated the experiences of the co-design initiative very high. In addition, the balance between how much involved persons expressed their wishes and were listened to was considered very good. Marked timestamps from audio recordings showed that the workshops proceeded according to the plan. The thematic analysis yielded the following main themes: Everyone's perspective matters, Learning by sharing, and Mastering a digital space. The themes encompassed what helped to establish a permissive environment that allowed the participants to be involved and share viewpoints. There was a dynamic process of learning and understanding, realizing that despite different backgrounds, there was consensus about the requirements for a medication plan. The remote co-design process seemed appealing, by balancing opportunities and challenges and building an inviting, creative, and tolerant environment.
Conclusions: Participants experienced that the remote co-design initiative was inclusive of their perspectives and facilitated learning by sharing experiences. The Double Diamond framework was applicable in a digital context and supported the co-design process of the medication plan prototype. Remote co-design is still novel, but with attentiveness to power relations between all involved, this approach may increase opportunities for older persons and health care professionals to collaboratively design products or services that can improve patient safety.
Keywords: co-design; engagement; medication plan; medications; older people; participatory; patient experience; patient safety; remote.
©Malin Holmqvist, Axel Ros, Bertil Lindenfalk, Johan Thor, Linda Johansson. Originally published in JMIR Aging (https://aging.jmir.org), 07.04.2023.