‘Bradton’: Co-production of a virtual community with service users and carers


When did you first introduce the innovation?

More than 24 months ago

Please describe the innovation you have developed

The Bradton virtual community is an open access resource (http://bradton.pbworks.com/) that is ‘populated’ by people who have used health and social care services because of various health conditions and social needs, originally developed by Michael Hellawell and Jane Priestley at the University of Bradford, in collaboration with the COMENSUS project at the University of Central Lancashire, Advocacy in Action in Nottingham, and service users and carers from the The West Yorkshire Service Users and Carers Induction Training Group (WYSUCIT). It reflects the demographics of a town in northern England with an industrial heritage. Experiences are presented in film, audio and transcript by service users or by simulated patients. This has involved people sharing their experiences of health and social care, to enhance not replace valuable ‘face to face’ contact between students and service users, through the use of individual’s stories. The on-going construction of the community has involved collaboration with colleagues in pharmacy, the introduction of a knee clinic and the development of a sports institute. Future plans include a greater focus on the inter-professional contribution to integrated care, and patient safety.

What prompted you to develop this innovation?

Government initiatives in the UK (DOH 2010) place patients, public and carers firmly at the centre of business planning to improve access to care and enhance quality of services. The same commitment is also expected in the education of future practitioners, so that the principles for user involvement are adhered to at all levels of health care.

In your view, what is it about this innovation that makes it different/important?

The ‘Bradton’ project engages service users and carers in the collaborative production of web based learning materials. Service user involvement in a case based approach provides potential for the ‘patient’ to inform future practice, provide appreciation of the social context of care, and develop student insight into inter-professional working. Involving service users and carers in virtual learning allows individuals to share their stories in a secure environment, through the use of patient narratives which allow the student to reflect on and revisit those experiences. This alternative means of delivery facilitates the involvement of a more diverse range of service users, providing the student with a learning experience that prepares them for the demands of practice.

To what extent does your innovation make use of existing approaches, resources or technologies?

Bradton is an open access resource that is WIKI based. There is extensive use of film and resources that can be used to enhance problem based /inquiry based learning across a range of discipline areas, across and beyond health and social care.

To what degree has this innovation led to changes in education or clinical practice?

Students evaluate Bradton as an effective pedagogical approach to simulate some of the issues that they may encounter in practice through the promotion of student insight into the ‘patient journey’, developing clinical reasoning skills and providing an opportunity to test the application of theory to practice in the academic setting. The virtual learning environment is seen to provide a ‘safe’ environment for service users and carers to share their experiences, and the re-usable nature of the learning materials allows the student to reflect on and revisit those experiences. Appreciation of the social world in which patients exist is crucial for the delivery of appropriate care, and user experiences are crucial in promoting this insight. Using a case based approach provides potential for inter-professional learning in relation to the teaching of psycho-social issues and awareness of multi-professional management.

What evidence do you have of the impact of the innovation?

Student evaluation has been positive in relation to promotion of the patient perspective, this has been evident in module evaluation and in support of submission for learning & teaching awards. The project was highly commended in a national learning and teaching award ( Health Science and Practice Subject Centre, Higher Education Academy 2011) and shortlisted in a national Epigeum Award for the best use of video.

To what degree has the innovation been disseminated in your organisation or elsewhere?

Mckeown, Mick, Hogarth, Russell, Jones, Fiona, Edwards, Mark, Holt, Keith, Traill, Sarah, Priestley, Jane, Watkins, Garry, Hellawell, Michael, Lunt, John and Malihi-shoja, Lisa (2012) Movies, movements and moving moments: connecting film, user involvement and student learning. In: Qualitative research in arts and mental health: contexts, meanings and evidence. PCCS Books, Ross-on-Wye. ISBN 978 1 906254 39

Published Abstracts
Hellawell M & Priestley J (2012) Bradton-Service User and carer Involvement in Developing a Virtual Community. Broadening Education Horizons- translating learning from a simulated to a work environment ASPIH Annual Conference Oxford

Hellawell M, Priestley J & Steel, J (2012). Educating for Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement: Transitions and Transformation Building the Virtual Community of ‘Bradton’ Collaborative working with service users and carers to produce media rich interactive case scenarios. October, London South Bank University.

Priestley J, Mckeown M, Hellawell M. (2008) Virtual world actual experiences: working with service users and carers to develop the virtual town of Bradton. Developing Practice Conference. May,Glasgow Caledonian University.

Priestley J, Hellawell M, Hinton J. (2009) Promoting the patient voice through blended learning. Case study presented as part of the Tangible Benefits of E-learning Project (JISC). Becta World Forum on E-learning. January, London

Priestley J, Hellawell M, Mckeown M (2010) ‘Collaboration Street’: the development of a virtual community for inter-professional learning in partnership with patients, service users and carers. The International New Type of Worker Conference. January, Skills for Health & Skills for Care. Heathrow

Priestley J, Hellawell M (2015) Building the virtual town of Bradton: Actual experiences in a virtual world. HEYH Clinical Skills & Simulation Conference. July. Leeds Beckett University

Please provide details of any plans you have to disseminate the innovation in the future.

An abstract has been accepted for an international conference on patient involvement to be held in Vancouver in November 2015.