Communication is an essential part of the process of healthcare, but often a patient is under a tremendous amount of stress during this time and will find it difficult to retain the majority of information they are being told. In the context of the diagnosis and the treatment of cancer, this problem is even more exasperated.
Booklets can be an excellent source of information, but given the subject matter it can be difficult for a patient to engage with the material in the first place, and when they do, they rarely read the entire thing. Our challenge is to look at the Chemotherapy: A Guide for Patients and their Carers booklet and re-evaluate the material and the way that material is used to then produce a better way of communicating that information to those who require it.
This project will run for 8 weeks over the summer period of 2017 and will primarily involve a collaboration of 4 students from the Glasgow School of Art and NHS staff from Crosshouse and Western General hospital. Among the other contributors are staff from the Glasgow School of Art, Macmillan cancer support, the University of the West Coast of Scotland and the North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership.
• A full and conclusive design proposal that has been fully prototyped, proved out and is ready to be deployed within the NHS.
•A documentation of the full working process through the use of a website and blog, showcasing in detail the methods and strategies used to tackle the project.
•An established framework that, in future, can be deployable in other areas of the NHS.
To begin, we will identify and critique the way existing information is communicated, while also exploring the use of accessible information used throughout the healthcare services. This means establishing contact with as many relevant professionals as possible to aid in our understanding of communication.
This stage will focus on the understanding and review the document intended for re-design, Chemotherapy: A Guide for Patients and their Carers booklet. Intending to analyse the entire booklet page by page, we will assess how it is used in context by both patients, staff, carers and relatives. Through this analysis, we will develop insights that will lead to opportunities that will guide the project's development.
From the opportunities previously identified, this stage aims to produce a series of prototypes. These will then be trailed, in context, with both participating hospitals and critiqued by staff, patients and carers. Through developing a number iterations, we shall arrive at a conclusive proposal to take forward for production into a fully refined concept.
Having developed a final concept, we will collate all of our work together to produce a range of documentation providing a detailed overview of our process which then informed our final conclusions. This will primarily take the form of a journal which allows the NHS to view our framework and potentially apply it within other areas that face similar communication-related challenges.