The Role of Patient Narratives in Healthcare Innovation: Supporting Translation and Meaning Making

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the process and impact of patient involvement in locally defined improvement projects in two hospital clinics. The paper particularly aims to examine how patient narratives, in the form of diaries and radio montage, help to create new insights into patient experience for healthcare professionals, and support professionals’ enrolment and mobilisation in innovation projects.
Design/methodology/approach: – Two case studies were undertaken. These drew upon qualitative interviews with staff and participant observation during innovation workshops. Patient diaries and a recorded montage of patient voices were also collected.
Findings: – The findings illuminate translation processes in healthcare innovation and the emergence of meaning making process for staff through the active use of patient narratives. The paper highlights the critical role of meaning making as an enabler of patient-centred change processes in healthcare via: local clinic mangers defining problems and ideas; collecting and sharing patient narratives in innovation workshops; and healthcare professionals’ interpretation of patient narratives supporting new insights into patient experience.
Practical implications: – This study demonstrates how healthcare professionals’ meaning making can be supported by articulating, constructing, listening and interpreting patient narratives. The two cases demonstrate how patient narratives serve as reflective devices for healthcare professionals.
Originality/value: – This study presents a novel demonstration of the importance of patient narratives for translating healthcare innovation in a clinical practice setting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Health, Organization and Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)244-257
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Meaning making
  • Translation
  • Organizational change
  • Healthcare innovation
  • Patient narratives
  • Healthcare professionals

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