Empowering people to overcome health challenges
Behaviour may influence the success of a treatment process. In practice long-term sustainment of healthy behaviour or taking medication at the right intervals, proves to be difficult. It is not easy taking pills when you don’t feel ill any longer, eating healthy food while you are busy, tense or ill; drinking a sufficient amount of water. Clever products, digital aids and good services can help realise consistent behavioral change.
We need to have knowledge of behavioral sciences in order to be able to make the right analyses and choices for a strategy which leads to behavioral change. Therefore we work together with behavioral scientists in various projects. Wth them we develop instruments to translate knowledge into practice.
In cooperation with the behavioral and communication consultants of Tabula Rasa we develop the Beter gezond (Whole and Healthy) app for the Radboudumc. The Beter Gezond app helps people to reduce the risk of cancer by keeping a healthier lifestyle.
Panton is also one of the partners of the Nederlands Platform voor gedragsontwerp (Dutch Platform for Behavioral Design). In this platform behavioral scientists and a number of creative studios combine their knowledge to use design to achieve behavioral change. They do this in several projects of health care.
In 2011 The British Medical Journal published an article by a team of doctors and researchers led by Machteld Huber. In this article the concept of health was redefined: “Health is the quality to adapt and direct one’s own life, taking into account its social, mental and physical challenges.”* These words express our deepest motivation for what we do. Our greatest reward is to enable people – when they face great challenges in their life – to adapt themselves and to keep in command.
From experience gained from many projects we know that these challenges can occur in any stage of life, both in patients and in carers. Patients may be confronted with the challenges of their illness, or limitations, care professionals may struggle with too much workload, taking the right decisions and dealing with frustration when they are not successful in curing their patients. In our opinion design can help looking for ways to increase the power and autonomy of people.
A generic solution is impossible. As Huber writes: “One cannot expect all people ‘to be able to adapt themselves and to be in command’, at least not without the right monitoring and support”.
Together with patients, doctor and researchers we explore the scope of empowerment in the sense of adaptation and autonomy. We research how design can contribute.
Multidisciplinary trans- and intramural cooperation
We are increasingly asked to effectively streamline the way towards the desired result in cooperation with users. Especially if the desired result depends largely on the cooperation of people from different departments or organisations. Designers, for that matter, are trained to work in multidisciplinary teams.
Typical qualities of designers are: curiosity, optimism, analytical power, goal-orientedness, empathy and creativeness. We also have the skill of visualising ideas quickly and test these in an early stage. These very qualities turn out to have added value in multidisciplinary teams in which complex problems have to be dealt with. The more so when the care professionals or patients are short of time. We use these qualities more and more to tackle complex problems on customer experience, logistics, social cohesion, safety and efficiency. We learn a great deal re this from a.o. our growing network of directors, managers, architects, patient safety officers, non-profit organisations and patient associations.