TED, the iPad and the quest for participatory healthcareLucien Engelen and his team at the Radboud Reshape & Innovation Center are using proven methods and technologies to help change the way healthcare is done
How do you encourage a large university hospital to make the transition to participatory healthcare? “Develop a Swiss army knife”. Lucien Engelen and his team at the Radboud Reshape & Innovation Center are addressing the problem in a multi-pronged but highly pragmatic manner. Firstly, they’re getting healthcare workers to talk about the issues. Not by handing out flyers, but by organizing fun Pecha Kucha sessions and what could be Europe’s largest TEDx event yet, focused exclusively on the future of healthcare. Secondly, they’re facilitating real change in the hospital’s work processes. Not by launching a major ‘change’ project but by experimenting with consumer technology—such as the iPad and Skype—that lowers the threshold for patient participation.
Can you tell us a little about the Radboud REshape & Innovation Center?
The Radboud REshape Center was set up by the end of 2010 when the Executive Board of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre as part of the adopted strategy that we need to transition toward participatory healthcare. This was a pretty fundamental decision, as a result of intense discussions I had with the board, for the hospital because it touches on the core of what we are,. It acknowledges that there probably is nothing as paternalistic as a hospital and that a total mental shift will be required if we are to succeed. At base it means that we need to start informing patients in such a way that they are able to make decisions—together with the physician—about their treatment.
Are people ready for that responsibility?
Not everybody but you have to look at this from a long-term perspective. Innovations typically take about 7 years before they lead to real societal change, al least in healthcare. It is true that the generation requiring care now does not need or want computers, but the generation coming in was brought up with computers. Even today’s diabetes generation is young enough to have been brought up with computers. It’s difficult to say how exactly this will evolve but attitudes and expectations are definitely changing. For example, my son looked at me as if I was crazy when I tossed away a phone book delivered by mail, when I told him what we used to use it for. They think differently, not only about communication but also about work processes and power relationships.
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Nice interview Frank Boermeester of The Fifth Conference and i had.