Innovation in Pain Rehabilitation Using Co-Design Methods During the Development of a Relapse Prevention Intervention: Case Study

S. Elbers*, C. van Gessel, R.J. Renes, R. van der Lugt, H. Wittink, S. Hermsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Many intervention development projects fail to bridge the gap from basic research to clinical practice. Instead of theory-based approaches to intervention development, co-design prioritizes the end users' perspective as well as continuous collaboration between stakeholders, designers, and researchers throughout the project. This alternative approach to the development of interventions is expected to promote the adaptation to existing treatment activities and to be responsive to the requirements of end users.Objective: The first objective was to provide an overview of all activities that were employed during the course of a research project to develop a relapse prevention intervention for interdisciplinary pain treatment programs. The second objective was to examine how co-design may contribute to stakeholder involvement, generation of relevant insights and ideas, and incorporation of stakeholder input into the intervention design.Methods: We performed an embedded single case study and used the double diamond model to describe the process of intervention development. Using all available data sources, we also performed deductive content analysis to reflect on this process.Results: By critically reviewing the value and function of a co-design project with respect to idea generation, stakeholder involvement, and incorporation of stakeholder input into the intervention design, we demonstrated how co-design shaped the transition from ideas, via concepts, to a prototype for a relapse prevention intervention.Conclusions: Structural use of co-design throughout the project resulted in many different participating stakeholders and stimulating design activities. As a consequence, the majority of the components of the final prototype can be traced back to the information that stakeholders provided during the project. Although this illustrates how co-design facilitates the integration of contextual information into the intervention design, further experimental testing is required to evaluate to what extent this approach ultimately leads to improved usability as well as patient outcomes in the context of clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number18462
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2021


  • adherence
  • behavior change
  • care
  • challenges
  • chronic pain
  • co-design
  • evaluating complex interventions
  • health-services
  • implementation
  • intervention development
  • participatory design
  • physical-activity
  • prevention
  • rehabilitation
  • relapse
  • CARE


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