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Sweeney methodology

The Sweeney programme takes a blended approach, drawing on a range of tools and techniques which have been developed from two other well-established methodologies that we have used previously in our projects: Experience Based Co-Design (EBCD) and Patient and Family Centred Care (PFCC). Both of these methods have been evaluated and published in peer-reviewed journals and have been proven across a range of care settings.

The tools and techniques we teach include filmed patient interviews, emotional and process mapping, patient shadowing, driver diagrams, snorkelling, and patient stories. All of these techniques help you to put the patient’s experience at the heart of effort to improve care, powerfully reconnecting staff back to patients and their families and their motivations for working in care.

You can read more about these tools and techniques in the EBCD and PFCC toolkits, which can be accessed via the links below.

Experience Based Co-Design toolkit

Patient and Family-Centred Care toolkit

Facts about these tools and techniques
Tools such as patient shadowing, process mapping and driver diagrams have been used with more than 35 teams across NHS organisations, in both acute and community settings.
These tools can support improvement in any care experience, and to date have been successfully applied in the care of children in acute settings; in the care of people having elective surgery; and in the care of older people with dementia.
The co-design tools such as emotional mapping and filmed patient interviews have been used in NHS organisations across the UK, as well as abroad, to support the application of this approach in a range of settings, and for a range of patient and service users, including people with cancer, and young people with learning disabilities.
We have led sessions on how to use these tools at the IHI’s co-design college in Boston, and at Toronto’s Change Foundation.


The methods used in the Sweeney programme really did change the way I thought about what was important to patients navigating through NHS care and how much what we experience might affect compliance with, and the success of, our treatment.  For me the relentless drive to be efficient in target-based healthcare culture totally missed the point of caring and the programme was my antidote.  Now, having had my own ‘care experience’, I really appreciate the power of these methods in refocusing us around the personal, around not only the effects of the treatment we deliver but of how we deliver that treatment, and around what is truly of value to our patients and their families.

Joanne Minford