Care pathways are the backbone of a patient's story. They reflect the practical aspects of a patients story, but not the experience. The experience-based design approach has been created to return service design focus to experience, in the hope of improving that.
"using experience to gain insights from which you can identify opportunities for improvement"
In order to design based on experience, those experiences need to be captured, understood, improved and measured.
There are touchpoints or 'moments of engagement' between patients and services - what emotions do they create? Mapping those emotions through the process of the episode of care can be very enlightening.
For example, my care pathway is through several different consultations and referrals including neurosurgeons. That sounds very reasonable. But at each of those points, there were emotional reactions. Being referred to a neurosurgeon is no everyday matter, and neither are the appointments - emotions of fear, anxiety, stress built up. While a referral to a physio prompted me to feel slightly more hopeful and motivated to help myself. But its not just the engagement with the healthcare professionals. In fact, more often than not, it's the letters and the calls to the secretaries that induce the most anger and frustration - the most extreme emotions for me!
By looking at my somewhat convoluted pathway through the NHS in such detail, the intricacies of what adds up to an overall 'good' or 'bad' experience can be seen.
This whole concept is explained really well on this NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement presentation.