Innovation Camp 2017: Can you tell a nurse to run faster?

More than half of the hospital beds in Bergen are occupied by only 10% of all patients. They stay longer than necessary because they need help with their recovery, but don’t know where else to go. If nothing changes, the municipality of Bergen is expected to face an increase of 93.5 million USD in health care expenses. How can design help them?

Patients and nurses missing or having unclear information on the patient’s return home is a major problem. There is no proper system in place to assist recovering patients in finding  the support they need.

At the same time, the rising healthcare costs indicate a need to serve more patients or to reduce staff. “We can’t tell a nurse that she needs to run faster. We need to work in smarter ways and use technology”, Alette Knudsen from Bergen Kommune comments.

Still, it is not just about time and money. Most important is the wellbeing of staff and patients. According to Alette, patients receiving the appropriate rights  and employees having a good working day are two of the most important goals. “If the nurse has a nice day, the patients has a nice day too and vice versa.”

Therefore the challenge of this year’s innovation camp was how to improve both the service to patients and their experience in the transition from the hospital to their homes.

According to Synnøve Olset, innovation adviser at the hospital, users are central to solving the problem. “We need a tool that embraces the users. It’s not just about asking what they need, but to understand how they think and interact with others as well.”

The role of Pracademy was to give the participants of the innovation camp these tools and to help them understand the end users to create innovative solutions.

As a result of the camp, an app is being developed which  involves volunteers that can take on some of the workload from the nurses. It allows patients who need help to get in touch with volunteers. In return the patients give something back to the volunteer such as food or company.

It may take some time until the idea is fully operational. But that is ok according to  Synnøve. “We don’t have the tool for the end user yet, but we’re gaining something every year! Most important was the change in mindset. Using design thinking, everyone learned to think a little different and emphasize the problem in a new way.”

The benefit for the hospital is that they have a new tool for the way they work and solve problems. Even if they don’t solve the problem right away, they can think of new ways of how it could be solved
— Synnøve Olset, innovation adviser at the hospital
The best experience we had was that employees learnt to work in another, new way. We think we will be able to get much more out of it and we definitely want to do this more!.
— Alette Knudsen, Bergen Kommune

For more information about the Innovation Camp click here