Healthcare is a huge industry with significant opportunities but also cost with many constraints, uncertainty, and complexity. Healthcare systems all over the world are struggling with ageing populations, chronic diseases, and medical and long term technological developments.
Therefore it's important to explore the complex landscape of healthcare including various parties, stakeholders, social trends, opportunities and impact of emerging technologies to create a vision of a pleasant future before unintended consequences affect us.
Change is coming and health systems need to adapt. That’s why we want to spark new opportunities, challenges and awareness how a new health care paradigm might look like. Data-driven health is a research project which explores the interaction between patients and physicians with healthcare-related touchpoints enabled and driven by new technologies, and explored through speculative design and foresight methods as strategies for a responsible, ethical, and mindful future.
The objective of this project is to explore the opportunities and impact of emerging technologies in health care. As designers, we want to be part of the discussion. We think that developing future scenarios might foster a lively conversation and speed up the process of creating human-centred applications of technology and show different perspectives on the current status and direction of health care. By analyzing the current situation in this area, we identified future opportunities and challenges, thematise them and create awareness for a broad audience.
For secondary research, we focused on two areas that influence possible future developments — human drivers and technological catalysts. Through literature, scientific papers and trend reports we were able to get an understanding of the state of the current health care system, technological innovations and constraints as well as the human needs that are driving change.
To complement the widespread secondary research, we conducted interviews with experts from different business and professions in the area of health care, medical engineering and innovation consultancies. They gave us valuable insights on their areas of specialism, on recent innovations and a different point of view on challenges and opportunities within that field.
Technology Catalysts & Human Drivers
Understanding the role of technology in supporting health-related tasks and processes enables a broader view of what could be realised in the near future. We explored emerging technologies that support health and well-being today and that hold the most promise for the future, particularly in terms of affecting our current healthcare system on a broader scale.
Digital technology, data-driven algorithms and information systems could support new ways to think about health interventions. From smart mobile devices to powerful computational resources in the cloud to sophisticated sensors and machine learning systems – We tried to cluster the most prominent technologies, describe them, analyse possible use cases and expose their barriers and opportunities in a framework we call “Technology Catalysts”.
On the Other side, we explored the tension between the possibilities arising from the use of new technologies and inarticulate needs of human beings. Therefore we tried to gain an understanding by creating a human driver framework of how healthcare and society will evolve in the next decades, who are a stakeholder and their relation, where can we find the hidden synergies, and how they influence each other. Because the health care system is a complex field where the viewing angles have an extreme impact on the perception of each problem.
The Synthesis of the analyzed and collated information derived from primary and secondary research was narrowed down to five key insights. Themes that appeared consistently and across multiple sectors were extracted and grouped into larger insights.
The Frontlines of Healthcare are shifting.Key insight 1
Medicine is getting hyper-personalised and hyper-unequal at the same time.Key insight 2
AI will change the job role of physicians for good.Key insight 3
The current »sick care« paradigm requests for change.Key insight 4
The technology is ready, our society is not.Key insight 5
The Frontlines of Healthcare are shifting.
Our healthcare system is subject to an enormously entangled complexity in which interests are often competing and contradictory and leads to losing the focus on a patient-oriented treatment. This insight involves the emotional barriers and fears that are associated with undertaking new and more effective treatments. But the real question is: Are we ready to implement and standardise these treatments and technological innovation? The technological potential for a better health care system already exist, we still have to design a system for a more trustfully human-centred health care.
These insight themes served as a foundation as well as leading vectors for the scenario ideation. As a result of our research and further speculative design methods, we created potential future scenarios of the human perspective and their reference points to health care, as well as a holistic point of view of the community and the possible impact of technological innovations.
In addition to the stories, each scenario allows a glimpse behind the scenes and shows research and important findings that impact this maybe possible future scenario. By exploring these future scenarios, we want to envision what possible future health care might look like and draw attention to what potential positive and negative implications such applications could have on us.
This is a student project created during winter semester 2018 as part of 6th semester.