International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleWorking collaboratively to develop a patient experience definition and strategy to inform clinical commissioning
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sKate Sanders, Samira Ben Omar and Jonathan Webster
ReferenceVolume 5 , Issue 2, Article 2
Date of PublicationNovember 2015
Keywordscollaboration, commissioning, engagement, patient experience, strategy, values, voice

Background: Major reforms in the NHS in England have resulted in the creation of Clinical Commissioning Groups, which put clinicians at the forefront of commissioning services. One of the shared strategic objectives of the NHS is ‘ensuring that people have a positive experience of care’. With this in mind, a piece of work was undertaken to develop a strategy to embed patient experience in the commissioning process.

Aim: The overall aim of this work was to engage with patients, service users, carers, health and social care workers and representatives from the voluntary sector in north-west London, UK, to develop a shared definition of patient experience and a patient experience strategy to influence the clinical commissioning of care.

Methods: A values-based approach was used to develop the definition and strategy, working collaboratively with clinicians, commissioners, patients, service users, carers and the community. The facilitation of this work was underpinned by four principles: working collaboratively; being evidence based; being asset based; and being continuous and iterative. The principles are described and also used to critique the process and outcomes.

Conclusion: This work was stimulated by the recognition that practice development approaches could be applied to different contexts and settings, including clinical commissioning. It has the potential to draw clinical commissioning and clinical provision much closer together, with engagement, collaboration and decision making focused on improving the quality of care (experience, safety and outcomes) for patients and their supporters.

Implications for practice:

  • A values-based approach is an effective way of capturing the voice of patients, service users, carers and the community
  • The voices of individuals and communities are crucial in shaping and influencing the development and commissioning of new models of care
  • Greater impact may have been achieved if we had worked more collaboratively with providers from the outset
  • Although this paper focuses on the commissioning of healthcare services in England, it has wider UK and international relevance if used as a case study for enabling community engagement and participation


This article by Kate Sanders, Samira Ben Omar and Jonathan Webster is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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