Implementation of innovative working methods in primary care

New products and new ways of working are needed in order to meet the future challenges in healthcare.
The ability of healthcare professionals to create and innovate new products and working methods is however underutilized. Närhälsan Färgelanda, Primary Health Care Centre, has launched an innovation project in collaboration with private companies that aims at empowering healthcare professionals to create, innovate and develop new products and working methods that meet the future needs.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Healthcare is an essential part of the welfare system but faces many challenges due to demographic changes which lead to a decreasing number of working-age people having to support an increasing number of elderly people, and since lifestyle-related diseases are expected to increase. A lack of healthcare professionals is also expected. In order to meet these challenges, resources need to be used efficiently, and innovative working methods and new products need to be developed.

Primary care is the first contact point for patients in need of healthcare. On top of high requirements regarding availability, new products and ways of working need to be developed in primary care. It has been difficult to establish strategic innovation practices in current primary care systems due to many changes taking place simultaneously, and a general focus on productivity. Key to solving this problem is taking better advantage of the knowledge and creativity of both healthcare professionals and patients when creating new work practices and developing new products and services.

The innovation is a testbed that Närhälsan Färgelanda has established. The testbed is based on the needs of primary care, and offers an arena where healthcare professionals, patients and industry partners can collaborate around designing future welfare services based on service design. The work is conducted in collaboration with University West and financed by interregional funds from the EU. The collaboration with University West makes it is possible to explore new products and work practices, while future healthcare professionals (i.e., students at the university) gain access to a novel learning environment. In this way, the testbed becomes an arena for learning among representatives from the industry, primary care and academia.

The development of the testbed follows several steps. In the first step, healthcare professionals, patients and industry representatives are interviewed in order to identify the existing needs and demands. In the second step, a collaboration is initiated with external partners with expertise in, for example, information technology and law, in order to facilitate the creation of transparent and standardized work practices, which also consider ethical issues. In the third step, structures and flows associated with the work practices are established in the testbed. In the fourth step, products, services and working methods are evaluated and explored in collaboration with academia.

The testbed provides companies with opportunities to test their products in a primary care environment with access to the expertise of healthcare professionals. In a longer perspective, society gains access to new products and services that are specifically developed and evaluated for matching the needs in primary care, and which can contribute to improving accessibility, quality and resource utilization. The insights and experiences gained in this project will be disseminated regionally, nationally and internationally, since there is limited information available about establishing testbeds in primary care in collaboration with academia and industry partners.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

Innovation Reflections

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Year: 2019
Level of government: Local government

Status:

  • Identifying or Discovering Problems or Opportunities - learning where and how an innovative response is needed
  • Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
  • Developing Proposals - turning ideas into business cases that can be assessed and acted on

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