Nowadays, the healthcare system faces a high number of problems. Before going deeper in that, it is necessary to define Health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (World Health Organization).
The healthcare system is facing with the increase of the average life expectancy that jumped from 56 to 72 years old in the last 50 years (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.LE00.IN).
Further to this, the world’s population is ageing. According to the World Health Organization, by 2050, the world’s population aged 60 years or older is expected to about 2 billion, representing 16% of the world’s population.
In the global heath and aging document by WHO, it has been demonstrated/is proved as this lead to the increase in healthcare costs as it leads a new service business model.
On the other hand, we are witnessing a new digital era; while the Third revolution used electronics and information technology to automate production, the Fourth Industrial is the digital revolution,”a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological sphere”, featuring with the velocity, scope and system impact (K. Schwab, 2015). In this epoch, also the healthcare is going through this digital shift, namely the so-called digital health.
According to P. Sonnier, “digital health is the convergence of the Digital and Genomic Revolutions with health, healthcare, living, and society.”
For FDA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Digital Health involves mobile devices (mHealth), wearable and wireless devices, telemedicine, health information technology, telehealth hardware sensors and software sensing technologies, and personalized medicine.
(Investment) – business
it is not surprising that investments in digital health companies grows around 22 percent in the last few years, reaching $6.4B in 2016. (Accenture pag 3 – 7a). Affordability, access and quality are the priorities of these investments are the affordability, access and quality in digital health services. (pag.5 7a)
If on the one hand, the investments are rising in digital health on the other, the digital health allows reducing the costs in healthcare. For example, according to the Accenture analytics FDA-regulated, digital health solutions, including devices and software applications, will save $50 billions for US healthcare and this cost-savings is expected to raise exponentially in the coming years.
In this increasingly elderly and digital society with issues that affected the healthcare system, How can service design create healthcare services in order to move closer, empower the human relationship?
In this context, As it becomes more viable and important to people to stay longer at home there is the opportunity to the patients, whether it's elderly person, chronic patient, diabetic or post-op patients, the opportunity do have care also outside the hospital, in everyday life using the technologies and services that digital health can provides.
The digital health services are able to connected people shorten the gap from the patients’ house to the physicians, removing the physical barriers, for a better patient and caregivers experience.
This means new challenges for service design that take not of need of both sides.
In other words, in this increasingly elderly and digital society with issues that affected the healthcare system, Service design has an important role in creating healthcare services in order to move closer, empower the human relationship patients/caregivers using the technologies of digital health.
It should be stressed that the Service designer can uses technologies to empower the humans. The technology is a means for something higher and it is not the ultimate goal. The human relationships are in the spotlight. What is important is the relationships and connections that individuals have with their friends, family members, community members, caregivers. and care partners in a shift towards networked care.
On the whale, these services that include the collection of data, the share and exchange of them, create a social impact on the society creating multiple benefits for different stakeholders.
CASE STUDY – TYZE
In view of this, it is helpful to provide a tangible example about how service design can empower the humans relationships using the new digital technologies for the patients’ care at home.
Tyze is an online space where people come together around an individual’s needs. They help people to create a networks and get support they need from health professionals, family caregivers, friends and neighbours. Tyze consider not only the medical but also the social and psychological sides of the process of care. It is a “network model of care that is inclusive, accessible and affordable” (Agamennone C. et Al.).
The main aim of this service design is to create relationships and “Technology can support caring relationships and promote love, health and healing in our world” is one of the Tyze values.
Also E. Manzini in his book “Design, when everybody designs” claims as the care outcomes of Tyze are given from the hearty and active collaboration of the community, that are fundamental to work well this platform. However, he also said that the digital platform service is important too as without it the patients’ network wouldn’t be able to provide care, for example if the family members live far from the patient. Manzini highlines that ”what in my view it is so interesting and contemporary, is that enhances a valuable resource that otherwise would have been lost.”
In this case study, service design with the help of multidisciplinary team, creates a digital platform that allow or reinforces relationships. Thanks to this service, the patient can feel less isolated, having a positive experience staying at own home.
Another interesting case studies are Cera+ and Vytalize.
Cera+ is a on-demand digital platform that provide support, care and companionship to elderly ,letting them live in the comfort of their own home. In this case the service enable the creation of a new relationship between the patients and the carers.It offer a high quality of care, it ii affordable tha most care providers in uk, offering an availability of 24/7, a transparency and user friendly platform to be updated about I propri cari.
Case study – vytalize
Vytalize Health, based in USA, provides technology and services that enable caregivers to expand their role in patients life and deliver higher quality service for their Medicare patients.
They “takes a holistic approach to patient care and expands the scope of the relationship between patients and providers.”
They provide different services for patients, covered by Medicare, national health insurance program of USA for elderly people. They offer to elderly standard primary care services, chronic care management, behavioral health, telemedicine consultation and in-home care.
On the other hand, the service Vytalize Health Partnership Program for providers wants to reach the best interests of the patients, and partner/collaborator, highline how each relationship patient/provider is unique.
Benefits that service design can give
These new digital health service create benefits for the patiens, for care providers and for the heath system.
Costumers can manage their own health information, take the control in any time and place with a easy interaction. The application like can provide to the patients a self management. And build a better relationship with the caregivers.
On the other hand, in this way, the care providers can have a closer relationship, building trust with he patients. Moreover, they can collect more data and real time data, automatic feedbacks and allarms help doctors in their ordinary job.
Finally also for the health care there are some advantages. First of all, they can collected data for developing an predictive intelligent analytics. The healthcare system can provide a better assistance and soa better experiences. Moreover, l’assistenza del paziente a casa, contribuice a una riduzioni dei costi (visite, stanze..) come sopra detto.