Co-designing to Improve Practice in Treating Urinary Tract Infections: a case study of reducing inappropriate antibiotic treatment
Keywords:human-centred design, co-design, collaboration, healthcare, clinicians, urinary tract infections, asymptomatic bacteriuria
Although co-design has made important contributions to practice in many fields, healthcare has only recently employed it for shaping best practices. This paper explores an aspect of medical practice that challenges many hospitals: the decision-making process for ordering urine testing and the use of antibiotics, specifically, in treating Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) and Asymptomatic Bacteriuria (ASB). The case investigates how physicians and nurses make decisions about testing urine for infection and the use of antibiotics. To explore the issue, the researchers conducted three co-design workshops to (1) uncover the medical decision-making process in ordering urine testing and treating UTI and ASB, (2) determine the needs of clinicians as they make such decisions, and (3) collectively design a decision aid that would fit users’ cognitive, emotional and physical needs. The case shows how human-centered design approach led to an evidence-based decision-making tool – guiding clinicians to improve their practices by reconsidering when and if to order urine testing and prescribe antibiotics.