Patients, now hiring

Signal of change / Patients, now hiring

By Kirsten Zeller / 28 Apr 2016

At the Stanford Cancer Centre South Bay in San Jose patients shape the culture and practice of the institution in which they are treated. Since the centre opened in June of 2015, 100% of the staff hired has been interviewed by a patient, family member and member of non-leadership staff.

Within six months, 250 staff members were brought on board through this process, with the exception of doctors. When first proposed this approach was met with apprehension, however in time patient feedback and insights became invaluable to managers – particularly when faced with two strong candidates.

In addition to staff recruitment, a Patient and Family Advisory Council forwarded their recommendations long before the centre opened. The council shared their insights to inform how the building’s design and service delivery could address their needs more effectively.

So what?

This participatory approach to managing and designing the medical centre was underscored by the guiding principle that the patient knows best. This ethos is making a marked difference to both how the Stanford Cancer Centre operates and how those within it relate to one another. As more stakeholders are involved, more insights can be gained and more diverse issues addressed.

The Stanford centre is the first medical centre to have reimagined its hiring process in this way, with highly positive outcomes. Despite the relevance of patient insights, it is surprisingly uncommon for beneficiaries to be asked how their needs could best be met.

This inclusive approach needn’t be restricted to care facilities but can inform how all of our systems, services and physical environments are designed and sustained. User-led design is gaining traction and increasingly implemented across sectors and services to improve outcomes efficiently and sustainably.

Perhaps in the future it will be unheard of that institutions and interventions in public health, education, transport or urban planning were shaped without the insights and participation of users and beneficiaries.

Image credit: Vlc / Flickr


Quartz "At Stanfords new cancer center, patients interview every new hire"

Stanford Medicine News Center "Stanford Cancer Center South Bay opens to first patients"

The Stanford Daily "Stanford Health Care opens patient-oriented South Bay Cancer Center"

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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