In autumn 2021, the design students of the master course Emerging Designs were challenged by a brief set of a collaborative project of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Swedish region of Västerbotten. Students were asked to illustrate what the future of health care and social services will look like by 2030 and beyond.
The mission was part of the Nordic collaborative project “Healthcare and Care through Distance-Covering Solutions”. The project is organized by the Nordic Wellness Center and the Center for Rural Medicine – Region Västerbotten, funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
“In the concepts designed by the students, the values of patient empowerment, increased accessibility and transparency are at the heart of digital solutions spanning the distance,” says project manager Niclas Forsling of the Storuman Center for Rural Medicine Sweden .
According to the teacher in charge of the course, Professor Severi Uusitalo, the course projects emphasized experimentation, and the process also succeeded in raising new questions about the complex task of design. In the spring, students will have the opportunity to continue their project towards a validated solution proposal.
Complex challenges turn into scenarios with the help of design
According to the assignment, students were to create visions, not ready-made solutions. IDBM program student Falguni Purohit chose the course precisely because of the assignment and was involved in designing a concept for a mobile MRI service in remote areas.
“Healthcare design is a very interesting topic for me and since Nordic healthcare is spoken of in such a superior light, addressing their challenges was even more intriguing.”
Due to its complexity and scale, the mission was also a challenge for student Shreya Shrivastava. His team has designed a concept for a digital tool that aims to improve mental health care.
“I learned how to navigate a complex system and develop scenarios for the future of digital health. The course also introduced us to the process of co-evolution where the problem and the solution evolve together rather than one preceding the other.
The student teams produced seven concepts
BUBA is a toolbox for remote pediatric diagnosis. BUBA is a device comprising a set of instruments intended for remote contact with a doctor. It will allow you to perform basic health checks on your child without having to go to the doctor. The service is both playful and constructed in such a way that the parent can also learn from the interaction.
AMRI Remote is a diagnostic and preventive mobile MRI system for remote healthcare. This technology, developed at Aalto University, makes the MRI unit smaller, lighter and mobile. In 2030, MRI is coming home, helping especially the elderly living in remote areas. The platform operates in the three largest northernmost hospitals in Finland, Sweden and Norway.
EnVa is a preventative health system approach for older people living in sparsely populated areas. It combines data collected from a wearable device with mood data collected by conversational AI. The service approach integrates technology, family, community and healthcare professionals, so that older adults feel socially supported and cared for.
Hopealinja is a synthetic audio intermediary service connecting dementia patients with loved ones and others through a new simulated audio service that also analyzes the patient’s cognitive well-being. The solution collects data on the development of the disease in a simple and integrated way and alleviates the symptoms of dementia that evoke stress for the patient and their family members.
Mimi is a dementia-focused social technology, multi-device platform that expands the notion of family, loved ones and health care into one all-encompassing “safety net”. By generating frequent questions and memory reminders to answer, the service connects people with dementia with their family members with little effort. The service is cognitively stimulating and measures cognitive performance.
MonCom is a communication and data collection tool for better mental health. It helps customers effortlessly manage and share their health data with healthcare providers. A wearable device monitors the well-being of customers by collecting active and passive data. The built-in AI helps the client, therapist, and physician effortlessly navigate this data by highlighting only the necessary information.
AMRI Emergency Stroke Unit is an AMRI imaging unit that cooperates with treatment level ambulances, aiming to reduce treatment times in stroke cases. The van-sized unit would be used for non-emergency imaging following pre-determined routes past small villages and health centers. For emergency cases, the unit would function as an additional contact point capable of imaging and stroke treatment closer to rural patients.