Co-design in practice is guided by a set of six foundation principles which form the ABC of co-design. It is important that everyone involved, and health practitioners in particular, understands the foundation principles and are committed to them.

Foundation Principle #4 – D is for Data and Delivery

It is important that communication flows openly and that all processes are transparent. This involves collecting and storing information in a secure and confidential manner in consultation with carers and families.

dataWhen co-design is built into the delivery of health services, it means that consumers have access to the same information and data as health professionals. Where possible, individuals are given full access to their own health records. Every effort is required of health and other professionals to remove barriers to consumers’ comprehension (e.g. use of plain-English language and avoidance of jargon).

Proactive coordination of multiple services requires effective sharing of information and documentation between agencies (with permission when details of an individual’s case are included). Communications are ongoing between all parties involved in the co-design process. Confidentiality and respect for the privacy of individuals remains key throughout.

Sharing information ensures that all involved in developing care strategies gain the same understanding of the situation in order to provide integrated, coordinated care. Sharing information also creates efficiencies, through the reduced likelihood of duplicating services.

Where there are difficulties involved in bringing health specialists and consumers together in the one place, for example, in regional and remote areas, alternative methods of communication might be used (e.g. telehealth, videoconference).

For the benefit of all, a central data management system is required to ensure that information and records are readily available and consistently accessible to everyone involved in the care partnership (with appropriate measures in place to protect sensitive information).

Integral to the co-design process is the continual gathering of information about whether care systems and strategies have been successful and looking at new directions for development.