Beyond tokenistic participation: Using representational artefacts to enable meaningful public participation in health service design
A number of recent policies promote public participation in health service design. Yet, a growing literature has articulated a gap between policy aims and actual practice resulting in public participation becoming tokenistic. Drawing on theory from participatory design, we argue that choosing appropriate artefacts to act as representations can structure discussions between public participants and health professionals in ways that both groups find meaningful and valid. Through a case study of a service improvement project in outpatient services for older people, we describe three representational artefacts: emotion maps, stories, and tracing paper, and explain how they helped to mediate interactions between public participants and health professionals. We suggest that using such representational artefacts can provide an alternative approach to participation that stands in contrast to the current focus on the professionalisation of public participants. We conclude that including participatory designers in projects, to chose or design appropriate representational artefacts, can help to address the policy–practice gap of including public participants in health service design.
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- Boote, Jonathan & Telford, Rosemary & Cooper, Cindy, 2002. "Consumer involvement in health research: a review and research agenda," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 213-236, August.
- Tenbensel, Tim, 2002. "Interpreting public input into priority-setting: the role of mediating institutions," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 173-194, November.
- Tritter, Jonathan Quetzal & McCallum, Alison, 2006. "The snakes and ladders of user involvement: Moving beyond Arnstein," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 156-168, April.
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