Is co-design an overused catchphrase, or an essential process to ensure Māori and priority populations receive equitable care in the health system?

Without effective implementation and evaluation, it may be the former, heard attendees at the latest Grant Round research symposium. 

Host Dr Rawiri McKree Jansen said having different co-design frameworks and evaluation tools categorised systematically would be helpful for health professionals who viewed the lunchtime webinar, which drew 120 people to hear from health researchers on the theme of implementation and codesign. 

·       Implementing Equitable Health Interventions: a tool for use in Aotearoa – Dr Karen Bartholomew and Michelle Lambert (presenting on behalf of Prof Sue Crengle).

·       He Pikinga Waiora framework: an effective tool for meaningful engagement – Dr Sarah Te Whaiti 

·       Co-designing Health Research in Aotearoa New Zealand: Lessons from the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge – Dr Debbie Goodwin

·       Healthier Lives Implementation Network: Translating Research into Practice with Māori and Pasific community providers – Professor John Oetzel and Darrio Penetito-Hemara

First speaker Dr Karen Bartholomew discussed the National Science Challenges project, Healthier Lives, led by Prof Crengle which is focused on the development of a new Aotearoa implementation science process framework.

“The framework is a really comprehensive model and aims to show how you can apply an equity lens at every step. It has the needs and aspirations of whānau at the centre, its foundation is Te Tiriti o Waitangi and it’s underpinned by collaborative design and anti-racism,” says Karen. 

Michelle Lambert spoke to the other key part of the Healthier Lives project on the Equity Readiness Assessment Tool (ERAT) which is being trialled.

Dr Sarah Te Whaiti provided an example of how He Pikinga Waiora enabled researchers behind the Let’s Test for HPV study to see how it could have been more equitable.

“By using the He Pikinga Waiora assessment tool we were able to demonstrate the strengths of system design in the Let’s Test for HPV study, but the study could’ve been improved upon by including the community, starting with conception, design, and clear two-way communication and shared decision making,” says Sarah.

“The incorporation of He Pikinga Waiora with research processes and development is likely to correlate with better intervention success. Not only does this strengthen the quality of our research, but it also enables reproducibility and leads by example for future research.”

Dr Debbie Goodwin talked about her PHD research into kaupapa Māori evaluations, sharing nine elements of good codesign.

“We can’t assume that all our codesign approaches are going to be useful, helpful, or beneficial necessarily. We’ve found that more care needs to be taken in implementing and evaluating codesign so that benefits for Māori, indigenous and minoritized communities are realised,” says Debbie.

“Community organisations told us that co-design is becoming a catch phrase and losing meaning through overuse. There are multiple ways that people apply co-design methods, and it can be quite confusing, so doing it right by all partners matters.”

Professor John Oetzel and Darrio Penetito-Hemara talked about their group’s work in facilitating the development and implementation of novel programmes that meet the needs of Māori and Pacific communities.

“It’s really hard for our people to trust, it takes a long time for them to be able to trust different areas, different processes, different people,” says Darrio.

“So, the idea of this design process was to create the opportunity for our whānau to be at the forefront of decision-making, how we implement things and then move things forward.”

Held on the first Monday of every month 12:00 – 1:00pm, (or the following Monday if there’s a holiday), the Grand Round provides lively lunchtime entertainment and allows researchers to share and discuss their work with people in the health and wellbeing sector.

To view the on-demand recording of the May Grand Round, please click here