Health Service Co-Design


Stakeholder needs table

This tool is a way to identify what different stakeholders need and what improvements will help more than one stakeholder.

Why use it

You can use this tool to compare one stakeholder's needs against those of another. For example, patient needs and ideas can be identified and compared to managerial, clinical and other stakeholder needs.

Healthcare services often identify potential improvements before a project starts. As a result, they may inadvertently exclude other stakeholders' needs and useful improvement ideas. This tool helps build a balanced view of potential improvement areas and improvement ideas.

When to use it

A stakeholder needs table is a useful tool for sketching out possible improvements near the start of your co-design work, as well as deciding on key areas for improvement and specific improvements later on in your work.

1. Identify key needs and areas of improvement from the perspective of each stakeholder group

Key stakeholders might be management (a financial perspective), clinicians (a health perspective), administration (a logistics perspective) and patients (an experiential perspective). You may include specific improvement ideas but this is best avoided. Any undue emphasis on these can prevent other ideas arising and being considered.

2. Group improvement ideas

Review the needs and areas of improvement for each stakeholder group. For each stakeholder, organise and group these into between three and six key areas that summarise the major concerns. Express these in the language of the stakeholder group.

3. Complete the stakeholder needs template

4. Create a summary diagram

When you have completed the stakeholder needs template below for all stakeholders, create a summary diagram to identify the key improvements that provide the greatest benefits for the most stakeholders.

Stakeholder needs template

Template Instructions

  • Using a large whiteboard or sheet of paper, list the needs of the key stakeholder group (usually patients) across the top. Then list the needs of another stakeholder group down the side.
  • Work across and down the empty squares in the table, placing a tick in each one where stakeholder needs clearly coincide (it doesn't matter how many ticks there are). Then number each tick.
  • Using a separate sheet of paper for each, brainstorm specific improvements for that square from the perspectives of both stakeholders, noting its benefits for each stakeholder alongside. Use the improvements and benefits template below to record improvements in each square and how they benefit each stakeholder.
  • Identify the key improvements that provide the greater benefits for both stakeholders. As you flesh out the improvements, you may notice patterns in the types of improvements being suggested. Review these and look for improvements that address multiple issues and/or achieve benefits for multiple stakeholders. These are likely to be the highest-value improvements and the most important to focus on.
  • Repeat this for any other stakeholders, keeping the primary stakeholder (such as patients) across the top of the template.

Improvements and benefits template


  • Keep your brainstorming focused on improvements that benefit both stakeholders.
  • Focus on identifying the improvement and its benefits, then move on to the next. Do not discuss or detail improvements beyond mutual benefits. For example, do not discuss how practical an improvement is, just whether it meets the 'mutual benefit' criterion.

Example: Melanoma care

Services involved in melanoma care at Waitemata DHB were looking for the best ways to formalise the service.

One idea was to create a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) role to build stronger relationships between the service and patients.

As part of the development project, a workshop was held to explore communication with patients. During this workshop patients talked about their need to have a single staff member to liaise with throughout their time with the service.

A simple version of the stakeholder needs template was used by project team members to map out patient and clinical needs. This showed that a range of communication-oriented service elements and materials would be of significant benefit to both patients and staff.

A range of these were developed to help patients and clinicians discuss clinical and service topics together as a part of routine service provision.

In particular, the tool showed that a CNS would be ideally suited to the liaison role. Communication-related responsibilities were then noted for inclusion in the job description for this position.