Using patient ‘walkabouts’ to improve shared decision making

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This case study describes the introduction of 'patient walkabouts' around the outpatient clinics where shared decision making is being implemented, as part of work in Newcastle upon Tyne on the Health Foundation's MAGIC programme.

Recognising that it is sometimes difficult for clinical teams to understand information requirements from the patients' perspective, the MAGIC Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Panel in Newcastle upon Tyne proposed a series of 'walkabouts' around those clinical environments involved with the shared decision making initiative.

As a result, a 'walkabout' observational exercise has been introduced into the outpatient clinics where shared decision making is being implemented. Representatives from the clinical teams met with the PPI Panel members and 'walked' the patient pathway through the outpatient clinics, particularly regarding the patient’s views and perspective of the information displayed in waiting areas and consulting rooms.

As well as identifying a number of actions the support shared decision making - such as where best to display Ask 3 Questions posters - the process has also helped clinical teams and PPI representatives to engage and learn from each other and to facilitate discussion within clinical teams, as part of understanding information needs from the patient’s perspective.

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