Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust Unveil Interactive Healthcare Feedback System Designed By 1,000 Local School Children

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An interactive touch screen feedback system, designed by 1,000 Birmingham school pupils, has been unveiled by the Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust.

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Fifteen primary and secondary schools took part in the two-year project, which gave children aged between seven and 14 the opportunity to determine the content and design of an interactive, computer-based system enabling young people to give instant opinions and ratings about the quality of service they have received.

The first feedback system of its kind in healthcare, it was unveiled at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust's Carnegie Centre in Hockley, where it will be used by 'looked after children' attending clinics to give feedback (see note).

Through role play, design work and discussion, school pupils across the city drove the conception of the system by describing their experiences as healthcare service users and the type of features, such as touch screen inputting and special applications for pupils with learning difficulties, that would encourage them to give immediate feedback.

The project was delivered in partnership between Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust and the non-profit social enterprise Reflective Learning-International, whose director Prof Tony Ghaye said: "The aim was to find a systematic and confidential way to encourage young people to tell us about their experience of healthcare services and then use the information to drive improvement.

"The core principal was that the design and content of the feedback system should be based upon what children and young people wanted to tell us, which could be quite different from what we think we want to know.

"As a result, the whole look, feel and content of the system reflect what young people want to tell adults. It's the real voices of young people; it's quick to use, fun to do and gives adults vital information. It is fully animated with an audio option and data can be fed back to healthcare staff in real time."

Jackie Keegan, designated nurse for looked after children at the Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust said: "We are delighted to unveil the first of these feedback systems, designed by young people, for young people.

"Patient opinion is vital to enable healthcare professionals to develop services that are truly responsive to the needs of all the communities they serve.

"There can be no better system to encourage young people to tell us what they think than one designed by their peers and we look forward to using the views we receive to drive service improvement."

Three Stockland Green School pupils, who helped design the system, were among the first to see it in action. One of them, 14-year-old Oliver Dix, said: "It's easy to use and I feel quite proud to know that our ideas will help improve health services for other children."


Looked after children

The term "looked after children" is generally used to mean those looked after by the state, according to relevant legislation. This includes those who are subject to a care order or temporarily classed as looked after on a planned basis for short breaks or respite care. The term is also used to describe 'accommodated' children and young people who are looked after on a voluntary basis at the request of or by agreement with their parents. There is also a broader and more inclusive definition of looked after children to include all those in out-of-home care. This includes, for example, children who are locked up in young offender institutions and prisons because of the offences they have committed; children who are in secureimmigration and removal centres because of the parents' status as asylum seekers, and children who are privately fostered.

Birmingham Community Healthcare

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust provides accessible and responsive community and specialist healthcare services in the city of Birmingham and to the wider West Midlands region. It is the largest community healthcare provider in England, employing approximately 5,000 staff, and is recruiting public members in order to fulfil its aim of becoming a Foundation Trust by the end of 2012.

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David Disley-Jones
Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust
0121 466 7281
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