Mapping definitions of co-production and co-design in health and social care: A systematic scoping review providing lessons for the future

Daniel Masterson*, Kristina Areskoug Josefsson , Glenn Robert, Elizabeth Nylander, Sofia Kjellstrom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
420 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: This study aimed to explore how the concepts of co-production and co-design have been defined and applied in the context of health and social care and to identify the temporal adoption of the terms. Methods: A systematic scoping review of CINAHL with Full Text, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed and Scopus was conducted to identify studies exploring co-production or co-design in health and social care. Data regarding date and conceptual definitions were extracted. From the 2933 studies retrieved, 979 articles were included in this review. Results: A network map of the sixty most common definitions and—through exploration of citations—eight definition clusters and a visual representation of how they interconnect and have informed each other over time are presented. Additional findings were as follows: (i) an increase in research exploring co-production and co-design in health and social care contexts; (ii) an increase in the number of new definitions during the last decade, despite just over a third of included articles providing no definition or explanation for their chosen concept; and (iii) an increase in the number of publications using the terms co-production or co-design while not involving citizens/patients/service users. Conclusions: Co-production and co-design are conceptualized in a wide range of ways. Rather than seeking universal definitions of these terms, future applied research should focus on articulating the underlying principles and values that need to be translated and explored in practice. Patient and Public Contribution: The search strategy and pilot results were presented at a workshop in May 2019 with patient and public contributors and researchers. Discussion here informed our next steps. During the analysis phase of the review, informal discussions were held once a month with a patient who has experience in patient and public involvement. As this involvement was conducted towards the end of the review, we agreed together that inclusion as an author would risk being tokenistic. Instead, acknowledgements were preferred. The next phase involves working as equal contributors to explore the values and principles of co-production reported within the most common definitions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)902-913
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number3
Early online date24 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Co-production
  • Co-design
  • Scoping Review
  • Health and social care


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