In the quite unconventional venue of old pop temple Tivoli in the centre of Utrecht, the first EVY Event was recently hosted on October 17th. EVY (the network for European Visionary Young health care innovators) hosted the event powered by ‘parent’ not-for-profit organization European Health Futures Forum (EHFF), Radboud UMC Process enhancement & Innovation (PVI) consultancy and the Dutch Organization for Monitoring in Health Care en Wellbeing (NVTZ). Two years ago, Matthijs Zwier (EVY co-founder) realized that EHFF could benefit from a delegation of young innovators, with different backgrounds, who would regularly connect, think and share ideas in order to tackle challenges of the European health(care) system. That’s how it all started…
If you want to change health care, where should you start? And what can you do as a (young) individual working within an institute or organization? With those questions in mind the EVY network hosted a series of think tanks in 2013 and 2014. EVY members were also involved in international Health Future summer camps. On October 17t the first international EVY Event was hosted.
EVY’s founders realised an international perspective was absent in most health care events and conferences organized in the Netherlands. “We focus on young innovators from different disciplines and nationalities to co create the future of health care. The EVY network is a way to bring them together, both online and offline”, says David Grim, innovation consultant from Radboud UMC, co-initiator of the EVY event. That ambition is reflected in the variety of visitors on the first EVY Event: young general practitioners, nurses, pharmacist, students, entrepreneurs, researchers were all present. “This multidisciplinary approach is a fundamental part of EVY”, says Grim.
Doctor as coach
The first plenary session at the event was presented by pharmacist Mariska van Grinsven and orthopaedist and PhD scholar Suzanne Witjes, who co-wrote the vision document “Coach, Cure and Care 2025”, released in 2013. Van Grinsven and Witjes point out five central themes for the future: independence, collaboration, eHealth and prevention, human dimension and responsibility. Technology (eHealth and smart devices) will change health care, together with a new way of collaborating between health care professionals, insurers, and other stakeholders.
This vision was written together with medical professionals from various backgrounds as a guide towards a sustainable and innovative future of health care. Coach, Cure and Care 2025 entails (among other things) that the role of future health care professionals will be one as a coach. But how this role should be executed in detail is still part of an ongoing exploratory process. Therefore, the Coach, Cure and Care 2025 organization will host their own ‘Coach’ congress on January 15th 2015. (‘Coach Cure & Care 2025’ – Mariska van Grinsven & Suzanne Witjes)
New responsibilities, new ways of working
Through a Skype-connection, Lucas Hartog, chief networking officer (CNO) of Seedble presents the second plenary session. Seedble helps companies to become future proof by creating an inspiring corporate culture. Hartog introduces several concepts to work and collaborate in a smarter way.
Many current IT solutions are not as scary as some people may think. In general, they are simply new ways to communicate: most of these digital solutions don’t radically change the way we work. Hartog challenges the audience to start thinking in efficient and online work routines: digitalize your notes, save and collaborate within the cloud and work with online communities and platforms such as Yammer and LinkedIn.(‘Smart Working Concept’ – Koen Lukas Hartog)
The future of personal health
Rutger Leer from Radboud UMC REshape dives into trends that will impact the future of personal health(care). It’s a vision of the future, but some of these trends and developments are already noticeable today. Take for instance the quantified self movement (QS) that is growing in terms of reputation and audience, as more people track their daily activities, caloric intake, exercise and sleep. Leer discusses the role that personal health data, gathered through all kinds of wearables, will have on compliance to therapies and towards changing behaviour (both in patients and in doctors).
All kinds of innovations are disrupting the health care sector. But once a product to measure health or fitness is on the market, another innovation becomes available, with better sensors, software or features. “The challenge is to connect the ‘raw’ data with people and behaviour to empower the individual (patient). He or she should decide who is involved and by whom and how he wants to involve people in his personal health (care) team”, Leer explains. His presentation provokes questions from the audience like “Will this rise in wearable technology lead to over diagnosing?”, “What is the difference between measuring yourself continuously and a total body scan?” and “Is this technology meant for everyone, and can patients cope with the data?” (‘The Future of Personal Health’ – Rutger Leer)
Willem-Jan Renger, teacher in games and interaction at the University of the Arts Utrecht (HKU) gives a engaging talk about how game design can be applied in health care. He starts off with an example going all the way back to ancient Rome. The Roman Vitruvius summoned that good architecture was based on three principles: usefulness (utilitas), robustness (firmitas) and beauty (venustas). Good design involves all three principles, while in health care the beauty component is often left out, according to Renger. (Online) health applications hardly ever invite you to use them, in the same way that hospitals aren’t attractive or pleasant places to visit.
No wonder that health care technologies lack venustas: we need attractive designs and applications that people want to use. Gamification and serious gaming could change that. Games are per definition challenging, and, by overcoming these challenges, fun to use. By transforming real live situations into gamified therapies or training, users are likely to learn and improve their skills and even behaviour. Health care could profit from more incorporation of venustas in design and technology, considering the apparent success of serious gaming for both doctors and patients. (‘Applied Gaming & Health Care’ – Willem Jan Renger)
Connect, think, share
The first EVY Event is a good showcase for the broader ambitions of the network: to connect, think and share. Students, starters and young professionals with different backgrounds find each other during the breaks and start a discussion with a ‘cross the line’ session.
The final contribution of the day comes from Henk den Uijl, policy maker at the Dutch Organization for Monitoring in Health Care en Wellbeing (NVTZ). Den Uijl’s starting point is Dave Eggers’ recent book The Circle, but he challenges the audience with a philosophical and more personal perspective on care and wellbeing. His final presentation on the impact of new technologies on our bodies and our environment and our shifting notions of transparency and personal information contains a message: always bear in mind the human dimension while innovating and disrupting health care. Food for thought for a next EVY event.