Service Day – Service Design for Health Care

The current debate surrounding the social welfare and health care reform in Finland is centered on creating an innovative service structure for Finland’s public social welfare and health services.

Service Day 2015 seminar organized by Finnish Service Alliance (FSA) held on 18.3.2015, aimed to introduce the customer-centric implementation of services into the dialogue. The seminar collected various parties with experience in implementing the transformation of health services. The successful projects combine efficient operations with the improved treatment outcomes and happier staff.

The new Children’s Hospital 2017 in Meilahti (Uusi Lastensairaala 2017) project has so far been highlighted as a most successful fundraising endeavor. The project has a strong vision of how the hospital should operate so that their little patients are at the heart of everything they do. The new Children Hospital is envisioned as a patient-centered healthcare service that improves human experience on both sides of the care experience, for both patient and care providers, hence everyone can be a stakeholder.

Service design methods selected for design for the health care project aim at understanding the everyday life context of patient. The initial situation is perceived as complex, and problems may be described by stakeholder in terms of shortcomings rather than opportunity. In the early stage of design, identifying the right problem context calls for patience and open-mindedness for haziness. Human-centered approaches to service design converge on the importance of patient experience, improving the touch points of care along the variety of services. Service design inquiries into the patient experiences with the aim of understanding the authentic perspective of people.

Alternatively, the design of a new Megaclinic (Megakliniikka) in Helsinki was starting with a clean slate. This allowed for questioning of the prevailing practices and the creation of new business models. The Clinic is a case of new service concept of a dental care, which provides dental care services with high quality, no queues, and usually one visit at a reasonable price. The challenge now is to adopt the model in the traditional organizational structures designed as institutions opposed to the rapid changes.

The case of Megakliniikka is a disruptive innovation where smaller player takes hold of a niche market. They introduce similar products at a smaller cost or offer an element of service unnoticed by current users. That way they create a market that leaves the competition behind. They sooner or later overtake established players when their offering expand to fulfill the larger demand of the market as their value proposition takes off.  Currently, this type if disruptive innovation turns out to be a goal of innovation as they have potential for fast changes.

Service design and medicine are comparable in many ways. Both are performed as a process that is learned by doing and both are learnt by observation and feedback. Both disciplines are motivated by the desire to help people improve their lives. In other words, rather than avoiding the complexity, service design helps identify the scope, boundaries, people, practices, barriers and opportunities in the situation.

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