Design in the Future Healthcare System

Design in the Future Healthcare System

Prediction of changes in healthcare and design strategy up until 2080

This project focused on defining problems and opportunities for design in different national healthcare systems, focusing on patients rather than on technology, a human-centred approach.

The methodology included hard data collection, experts’ opinion and Delphi. Historical research helped us in combination with current research; through extrapolation of the research we came up with our future scenarios. Separate literature reviews were used to gather background information for the research which, when conbined, formed the basis for the main framework and timeline. The timeline consisted of four milestones; 2011, 2030, 2050, and 2080.

At present the role of design is rather technologically oriented and the problems of high cost, inconvenient geographical position, and lack of staff are hard to overcome. In 2030, it is thought that design will have the role of an information manager and help transform the system to be more reliable and balanced. During 2050, design will facilitate the collaboration of patient and doctor through commoditisation of services and high technology. By 2080, the form of the healthcare system will have changed completely, with the role of design adapting to ‘modern’ needs. Emotional and psychological health will be prioritised since healthcare will be accessible to anyone, anywhere, at anytime through self administration of healthcare.

To conclude, in the future, design will have to adapt to the changing needs of the patients and tackle challenges more efficiently, cost effectively, locally and securely. Moreover, there will be a shift from product-centred design to patient-and-system oriented design. It is clear that the beneficiaries from this research will be medical organisations that wish to conduct research into the future of healthcare, medical practitioners and patients, and governments that might decide to invest in the healthcare system.