Ageing is the biggest societal challenge for the coming decades. The impact of an ageing population on our healthcare system is immense. The proportion of Europeans aged 65 years and older is expected to grow from 17.5% in 2011 to 24% in 2030. The related rise in chronic disease, combined with less healthy lifestyles, will result in an explosive growth in our patient population. At the same time, dramatic shortages of personnel are expected in the care segment. The Netherlands, for example, will need 400.000 more FTEs if they want to provide care in the same way as it is done now around 2020 on 1.3 million care staff members currently (CBS 2011). Therefore, self management of healthcare is the main focus of nowadays western societies. Resulting in a strong need to keep people longer at home, earlier back home (after being hospitalized) and healthy at home.

Goal of the research platform

As healthcare is a complex system involving various users, teams, technology and wider processes; sustainable solutions cannot be achieved in isolated (sub)systems. A thorough understanding of all users physical and mental characteristics, behaviour and context of use is essential. Designers take a systems approach in (co-)designing products to humanize health environment and health technology. New tools are needed that address the complexity of both hospital, home care and community care; tools that capture a holistic understanding for the care situation, considering contextual, functional, economic and human aspects of it.

Through this research platform, we generate insights and foresights on:

  • Design for cure; focusing on the one hand side on the medical professional, incl. clinical skills, non-clinical skills and training. On the other hand continue medical advice, support and monitoring once not anymore under doctors treatment to prevent fall-backs.
  • Design for care; focusing on the patient, including homecare and patient experience
  • Design for public health; focusing on prevention and healthy aging. The medical community has a lot of knowledge that allows designers to turn it into valuable supportive systems. The medical community however does know what insights designers can use to start from. Designers need to discover these insights.

Specifically, we generate knowledge on:

  • Technology integration, with e-health and care at home taking prominent roles as well as decreased length of hospital stay.
  • Patient empowerment: patients will need to take more responsibility for their own health, treatment and care.
  • How to promote healthy behaviour.

Through this research platform we integrate the technology perspective (rapid prototyping), the people perspective (by generating insights on medical knowledge as well as behaviours and ergonomics) and the business perspective (innovative business models for cure and care). 

How can we make better use of the resources on earth, concerning consumer products, services, beliefs and behaviours?