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New DHB guide for consumer engagement

Partners in Care
30 June 2015

The Health Quality & Safety Commission's Partners in Care programme has released a new guide promoting consumer engagement in New Zealand district health boards (DHBs).

Engaging with consumers: A guide for district health boards is a practical guide to help DHBs, and the health and disability services they fund, to engage better with consumers. It covers consumer engagement in the design and delivery of services, as well as the development of policy and governance procedures.

The purpose of this guide is to firstly, provide information about consumer engagement – both nationally and internationally; secondly, to share the successes and learnings of New Zealand providers about how they engage with consumers; and thirdly, to promote networking throughout the health and disability sector.

The guide has a distinct New Zealand flavour with stories from providers and consumers, and gives examples about how to work in partnership across the health and disability system. While DHBs have provided many of the stories, the concepts and resources will be useful to all services.

Commission chief executive, Dr Janice Wilson, says senior leaders are key to the success of consumer engagement and can support this work in a number of ways.

"One area where we need to concentrate our efforts to increase consumer engagement is at the governance and policy level. Poor performance in this area negatively affects quality improvement processes and outcomes, in terms of creating policy that is not appropriate or creates risks for consumers."

Senior leaders can also support consumer engagement by:

  • leading by example, walking the talk
  • ensuring the organisation has a shared vision for consumer engagement
  • identifying and promoting staff champions across the organisation
  • ensuring consumers are included in staff induction and training programmes
  • promoting co-design in quality improvement and service design initiatives.

"I am sure this guide will prompt discussion, raise the benchmark and challenge the ways in which we engage with consumers. I congratulate everyone involved in promoting consumer engagement and look forward to hearing more success stories," says Dr Wilson.

The guide, and additional reading, are available to view at the links below.

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