1.3.2 Bridging communication gaps between different care providers
Student working on the Vårdagram/Care diagram
Under the title of 'The City is our Laboratory' students from a range of subject areas have run a project to tackle current societal problems and the challenges faced by public agencies. One project developed a Care Diagram (Vårdagram), a tool to make communication easier between elderly people with multiple health problems, home care providers and primary care services.
The project course is run by OpenLab which is a joint collaboration initiative in Stockholm involving Karolinska Institutet, KTH, Stockholm University and Södertörn University. The students work together with the County Council of Stockholm, the City of Stockholm and the Swedish Counties Agency and these public bodies provide the problems for the students to solve selected from amongst the challenges that the public agencies tackle on a daily basis. The course use Design-thinking as its core method in combination with Scrum. Design-thinking is a mind-set method that provides the student teams with tools how to develop new innovative and radical solutions that has an end user focus. Design- thinking originates from how designers work and is developed by Stanford D-school.
A significant challenge faced by the County Council is the care of elderly people with multiple health problems. This group of people is often in contact with several different care providers, who provide care independently of each other. It is difficult for each of the care providers to access and use information from the other care providers, which results in an increased risk that important early medical signals are missed. The County Council asked the students to address this challenge.
The students are given almost full freedom to consider how to tackle the challenges, which differentiates the project from more conventional practices. It is intended that the agencies commissioning the project work will gain new ideas and, over the duration of the course, the ideas proposed can both surprise and shock. This more creative approach gives the agencies a possibility to consider new approaches and new ways to tackle current social urban problems.
Approximately halfway into the term, students at the Open Lab present a half-time concept delivery to the County Council illustrating a range of initial ideas. Through a dialogue with the agencies commissioning the work, it was decided to carry one of the concepts further and develop a prototype for a communication tool, the Vårdagram. But how is the Vårdagram useful? The Vårdagram is a web-based form that patients with multiple health problems can complete on their own or together with their home care assistants. The Vårdagram is able to show if a person needs primary care in a way that is more efficient than if the home care assistants or the patients themselves have to decide if contact with primary care services is necessary. The care diagram has the function of bridging the gap between two gigantic organisations, home care services and primary care services, by sharing the information that the organisations need in an efficient way so that the best possible care can be provided.
The students also proposed a new professional position within home care services; a care coordinator. The care coordinator would be responsible for entering the information in the Vårdagram care form, together with the elderly patient. This is a role that does not currently exist, but one that could be developed within home care services.
In the remaining half of the project the students completed a prototype of the Vårdagram. They also analysed the opportunities and obstacles for the development of the final product, including taking existing legal requirements and other regulations into account.
After the project the student group was given the opportunity to work further with the commercialisation of the communication tool. One student will also work further with developing the content of the Vårdagram as part of a Master's degree. The content must be refined to make the tool usable with regard to which indications are important for primary care to be able to prioritize interventions, and also with regard to content format so that the tool can be efficiently used by the home care services, elderly patients and their relatives.
Additional information: http://openlab.se/en/what-is-openlab/. For more information on D-school, see http://dschool.stanford.edu/