Highlights from the PULS healthcare conference.

6 June 2017
Ine Vassøy

Author: Ine Vassøy

I'm fundamentally positive, curious and a bit of a dreamer.

Tomorrow’s welfare state must think radically differently if it is to meet citizens’ healthcare needs. The biggest potential lies not in medicine and technology alone, but in delivering treatment more effectively.

Last week I had the pleasure of going to Oslo for the “PULS service design in healthcare” conference. It was aimed to gather those engaged in innovative healthcare delivery from across different industries and professions. At the conference itself, the program was packed with inspiring content and people that have been a part of improving patient health today and that are passionate about improving healthcare in the future. I’ll share a few things that stood out to me.

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1. Engage people in the service design process

The conference was kicked off by Lavrans Løvlie from Livework and he outlined a few insights and trends to share.

  • The number of people in need for care is increasing.
  • People’s expectations of healthcare services are growing.

There is lots of potential in medicine and technology, but there are also a lot of opportunities for service design to improve existing services and build new innovative ones. Either way, we need to engage users so that they can help us on this journey to improve healthcare. Caroline Chaffin talked about her journey into service design. She was a former nurse who was ‘fed up’ with all the processes that didn’t work well at the hospital she was employed at and she was frustrated that she could not make a difference. She made a career change and is now a service designer working specifically on different healthcare projects improving and building new sustainable and usable services grounded in user insights

2. Healthcare is digitizing

There were some great speakers from government talking about the different engagements and the digital transformation process that is ongoing. On speaker to mention was Christine from The Norwegian Directorate for eHealth. She gave us some insights in where the government is at when it comes to digitising the patient experience and how they use digital to enable better interaction and communication between the employees and patients. Their vision for the service is to have “one patient journal for one citizen” meaning that they want to collect all personal health data in one place. This means a lot of changes both in the current backend systems and digitising a lot of manual systems. There is already in place a digital service hub which personalises and presents different services depending on the user – and this service hub is just the start of something bigger as they are currently working to expand the different offerings on the digital platform.

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2. Smart collaborations between private and public sector

Now, public healthcare is pretty good in Norway but, there is still plenty of room for improvements. There were also people from the private health sector both in Norway and from the US talking about how the private and public sectors can learn from each other. The private sector is rolling out new offerings a lot quicker that the public are. A few reasons for their quick implementation time can be due to a smaller number of ‘customers’ and the fact that they don’t have the same legacy of the “old systems” as public services. Legacy is often a pain point when approaching innovation projects with established businesses – and it’s really refreshing to see how far ahead of the game Norway is when it comes to introducing new services to the market and how efficiently they are tackling the foundational – the digitisation of the patients journals.

I’d like to end with one of my favorite quotes of the day which is talking about how people don’t usually know what they need or what the solution might be. We need to understand that and build a framework of services for people to use.

“I’m not sure who designed the water, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t a fish.”

Thanks to all the great speakers and contributors to the event!

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