A service blueprint summarises key learnings and decisions arising from the co-design work you have done within a service.
It communicates to managers (and other readers) why the service exists for patients, how it works best for them, and what it does now (or needs to be able to do in the near future). In this sense it is a guide to the current and future state of the service from the perspective of patients and other stakeholders. It is very much like an architectural blueprint (hence the name).
Why use it
A good service blueprint is important because it communicates on behalf of patients to other stakeholders within and beyond the organisation. It demonstrates a patient-based mandate and rationale for change, showing how to deliver great experiences and how to then continue evolving them.
When to use it
Use this tool at the end of your co-design work to summarise the 'why', 'how' and 'what' of the patient experience and the resulting service improvements.
As you read other tools, you will notice the emphasis on using diagrams to record your learnings, development work and decisions. That is, the emphasis falls on reporting progress often and in a brief, casual format. This saves a lot of time and keeps your co-design work moving.
Developing a more formal report or blueprint at the end of a project is easy because most of the work is done. It may be as simple as compiling your finalised diagrams and summarising the project using these to illustrate tools used, learnings gained and resulting improvements.
Sometimes you need to provide a rationale, strategy or plan for future development. This is easy as you can point people to the appropriate sections of the toolkit and to individual tools.