patient design studio hdr
Header art from Business Model Generation, Osterwalder and Pigneur 2010.
Patient Designers On Discharge Education
Reducing readmissions requires patient partnership. Ever wonder why your thoughtfully planned improvement to reduce readmissions didn’t quite achieve the goal? This month, the Patient Design Studio weighs in with simple advice: make it easy for me to find what I need to know.

esearch tells us that transitions between care settings are often the most treacherous points in health care delivery. When a patient goes home after a hospital admission, they are still ill. Patients and caregivers assume responsibility for medications, surveillance of symptoms and environment of care. Preparation for this responsibility usually happens during the last hectic hours of a patients’ stay.

This month, leaders from pharmacy and orthopaedic nursing came to the Patient Design Studio with discharge education materials in hand. The aim was to understand the patient’s perspective on these written materials with the goal of reducing complications and avoidable readmissions.

What the Designers Said

Centralize the information in one place. They appreciate the balance of general information and detail. But once all the information is in one place, organization and navigation become even more crucial.

Orthopaedics gives patients a planning document even before their surgery. “It’s wonderful to have everything in one document. I’ve never seen anything like it.” says patient designer Elke Brown.

  • How To Centralize the Information
  • Describe team members who will be involved in the care.
  • Provide instructions for family and friends who support the patient after discharge.
  • Include financial planning contact information.
  • List what to bring to the hospital and what will be needed after discharge.
  • List common medications and the reason for taking them.
  • Prioritize common symptoms and who to contact should they occur.

Organize by patient needs to make all that centralized information easy to access.

How to Organize by Patient Need

  • Create a front sheet with all important information patients need. Contact information, must do’s, next steps. If there is a link to electronic content, include it.
  • Use a table of contents and page numbers. Use headers that are focus on patient questions or problems.
  • Use box with checklists to allow for check off.
  • Include links to any online resources.
  • Use pictures.

What the Improvers Said

"The whole experience was a lot easier than I thought. I was nervous that they would ask me a lot of hard questions, but they didn’t. Their suggestions were so practical. The experience let me step out of my provider role and understand what patients were seeing and thinking as they read the information. As a result of coming to the studio, we are revising the medication section and reorganizing the sections to make it easier for patients BEFORE we print."—Rochelle Maughan-Franks, director of clinical operations UUOC

"It was great to work with this this amazing group of people. It was clear how thoughtfully they had analyzed our documents prior to the meeting. The comments were exceptionally helpful in identifying what information is important and how to format it to make it clear and readable. As a bonus they gave some additional feedback about how to make our retail pharmacy experience better."—Shantel Mullin, director of pharmacy quality, safety and training


Chrissy Daniels

Former Director of Strategic Initiatives, University of Utah Health

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