Applying participatory design to a pharmacy system intervention


BACKGROUND: Stakeholder engagement is an important component of the research process for improving the use and uptake of patient-centered health care innovations. Participatory design (PD), a method that utilizes the involvement of patients and other stakeholders, is well-suited for the design of multifaceted interventions in complex work systems, such as community pharmacies, that have diverse and dynamic end-users.

OBJECTIVE: The objective is to describe a blueprint for how to use PD when designing a community pharmacy intervention. This paper outlines the steps of PD and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of this method.

METHODS: PD is explained step-wise to underscore the considerations required of researchers unfamiliar with PD. This includes the development of a tailored PD approach, PD session preparatory work, data collection, and intervention development and evaluation. The stakeholders recruited for the community pharmacy intervention were pharmacy staff and older adult patients who received prescriptions at the pharmacy corporation in which the intervention was being implemented. The PD process was a series of six adaptive sessions: (1) problem identification, (2) solution generation, (3) convergence, (4) prototyping, (5) initial evaluation, and (6) formative evaluation.

RESULTS: A description of the PD process to design a community pharmacy intervention is provided. The process led to the development of a patient-centered prototype. The advantages of using PD included the opportunity to clarify problems faced by stakeholders, generation of novel solutions to incorporate into the intervention, and the ability to vet and fine-tune stakeholder design ideas in an iterative fashion. The insight gained was unprecedented and invaluable to the researchers. The biggest challenge of employing PD was the time-sensitive and time-intensive nature of developing each session, collecting data, and reflecting on the results in order to design subsequent sessions.

CONCLUSIONS: The PD process led to the development of a patient-centered prototype. PD enabled stakeholders to generate creative solutions and provide unique insight on addressing issues faced in healthcare redesign research and specifically in community pharmacies.

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