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Stroke mapping

service mapping + experience design

Off the back of my work with the HEAL Bridge Lab between QUT Design Lab and Clinical Excellence Queensland I was approached by the QLD Stroke Clinical Network to map inconsistencies in stroke treatment and care across the state – identifying opportunities to provide more consistent care. Reducing the time between first incidence of stroke symptoms and treatment is crucial when it comes to patient quality of life outcomes, as prolonging treatment can lead to brain damage and – in some cases – render treatment options like Thrombolysis and ECR too risky.

To map all aspects of the clinical patient experience in detail, I worked with clinicians from across the state (both virtually and in-person) in a series of four workshops, as well as a number of informal consultations. From risk factors and prevention to rehab and data evaluation, I needed to ensure I understood the complexities of each stage in order to map the experience in a way that authentically captured this complexity. The Statewide Stroke Clinical Network (SSCN) Steering Committee provided feedback, as did the broader SSCN network at a Clinical Forum. 

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The mapping process

We developed a persona – Jenny – who had suffered an ischaemic stroke and required endovascular clot retrieval. Seven patient journey maps were developed, showing the differences in care depending on where Jenny had her stroke and which hospital she was transferred to. I developed these scenarios based on real patient cases and data, which provided times and outcomes. Across the state there was a shocking seven hour difference in initial treatment time for the endovascular clot removal, depending on the referring and receiving sites for treatment. Three of these journey maps are below – each representing the same patient with vastly different outcomes.

 

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The outcome

The final maps and infographics were presented in several formats, with varying levels of information and complexity. Some were more generic, in that they described every possible clinical design instead of focusing on a specific patient case. Other maps were specific and refined, centred around Jenny and demonstrating only one possible scenario. I also designed a series of modular infographics for each stage, allowing clinicians to speak to each clinical encounter or a more granular level without the overwhelm of the entire map. 

 

The visuals were designed to adhere to the Clinical Excellence Queensland style guide, to fit seamlessly within existing Stroke Network materials, with the focus being on clear communication of information and comparison between best-case, worst-case and the nuanced in-between. The final graphics are available to all clinicians across Queensland.
 

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Unlike some of the existing maps I'd seen for stroke care, I wanted to include both quantitative and qualitative impacts to demonstrate the outcome of a specific scenario. I also wanted to include the Clinical Care Standard criteria to show that – in many instances – care doesn't meet our statewide aspirations and commitment. I also included location maps to clearly show the journey taken, as arbitrary hospital transfers are one of the primary reasons for critical treatment delays. In combination, these elements paint a clear narrative and put forward a compelling case for the changes that need to be made.

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