How can qualitative research be utilised in the NHS when re-designing and commissioning services?
Patient experience is acknowledged as a key quality metric of healthcare quality and can be used to identify problems with healthcare delivery, to drive quality improvements and to inform commissioning of services that promote patient choice. In this article, the contribution of qualitative research studies to inform the redesign and patient-focussed commissioning of services is considered, illustrated with particular reference to elective orthopaedic surgical services. To fully embrace the concept of patient and public involvement (PPI) and to embed it in service delivery, health service design and informing commissioners to purchase healthcare that truly meets patient need and expectations, qualitative research has an increasingly important role to play. Through well-conducted qualitative research exploring patients' experiences, their knowledge and experiences of conditions can be utilised for the benefit of others and the impact of the patient voice truly heard when designing and commissioning healthcare services.