New Health solutions tested in near-life environment
Digital health technologies are an important part of the health service of the future.
The big 'dollhouse' is divided into four rooms: on top is the general practitioner's practice and the hospital - on the bottom is the citizen's own home and the municipal health.

The big 'dollhouse' is divided into four rooms: on top is the general practitioner's practice and the hospital - on the bottom is the citizen's own home and the municipal health.

Actors playing through Jane's pregnancy, from the first consultation at the GP's, consultations with the midwife and birth hospital.

Actors playing through Jane's pregnancy, from the first consultation at the GP's, consultations with the midwife and birth hospital.

Digital health technologies are an important part of the health service of the future. At the Plug & Play-laboratory at Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark in Odense, the solutions can be thoroughly tested before being implemented.

It looks like a giant dollhouse, or an advanced theater scenery with four separated rooms: on the top floor is the citizen's home and the municipal health illustrated, while the general practitioner's (GP) practice and a hospital are being illustrated on the ground level.

Two large monitors are visualizing what the citizen, home nurse, GP or the hospital nurse sees on their tablet or mobile phone, depending on the situation they are in. This means that the test participants on-the-fly can see what happens in the different sectors.

The ambitious Plug and Play-laboratory is set up in the test areas at the Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark. They offer a range of test procedures aimed at ease the implementation of digital solutions and welfare technologies in hospitals, municipalities and the homes of the citizens.

Three things at once
the setup offers the viewer three things at once to experience:

  1. Test and validation: Plug & Play provides a closed testing eco-system in a well-defined work-like IT-environment.
  2. User involvement in a near-life situation: Plug & Play facilitates health solutions in realistic situations with users.
  3. Guidance: Plug & Play offers guidance with user involvement, e.g. in connection with workshops for larger groups. 

Project manager from Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark, Morten Givskud, explains: "We aim to shorten the distance from the good idea to the good solution. Depending on where you are in the development process, organizations, municipalities, and hospitals can have their idea, solution, product or technology tested and validated in a closed and near-life environment. We can help with the involvement of citizens or health professionals if needed. The goal is to ensure that a technology has matured before it is implemented.

Active hip patients
As an example, the platform has been used to test activity monitors for monitoring hip patient's activity levels. It can be challenging for hip replacement post-op citizens to get a good start with everyday activities. Activity monitors can help motivate citizens to stay active - and help health professionals follow up on citizen's activities. In collaboration with the Orthopaedic Research Unit, University of Southern Denmark and Odense University Hospital tested the laboratory's six activity monitors. the test focused on whether or not the monitors could distinguish between different everyday activities. Six hip post-op citizen's activities were monitored while performing six different activities: walking, lying down, sitting, standing with high and low activity level, and climbing stairs. The test showed that none of the six monitors could differentiate between all six activities. Two of the monitors could, however, differentiate between five of the six activities.

"This test is a typical example of user testing of technological solutions. The parties behind the activity monitors receive data to further develop their product - and eventually return later for another test" Morten Givskud explains.

Afraid of blood samples?
A lot of people are afraid of having taken blood samples. In collaboration with Aalborg University's Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology at Aalborg University and Cumedicin, seven citizens tested whether calming images and audio can provide a better experience. Cumedicin owns the streaming service 'ArtPlayer' who delivered moving pictures and audio.

A belt was placed on the test subjects to monitor their pulse. During the test, the subjects sat in front of a TV-screen showing calming images while wearing headphones playing soothing music. Meanwhile, a camera captured their facial expressions. Both quantitative data (the effect on the test subjects' pulse) and qualitative data (facial expressions) were collected throughout the test.

Solveig Mathiesen, technical project manager at Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark states that "We managed both recruitments of test subjects and the technical test-setup and contributed to the gathering and handling of the data alongside the scientists from Aalborg University. That makes it easy and easily accessible to the partners who work with us".

As in real life
The true-to-life setup with the four rooms makes it possible to call in different groups, and also actors. By playing through different scenarios, we can achieve new insight into the use of technology, e.g. whether different IT-system can communicate with one another.

"We had help from actors as the take-off of on a debate about, what the digitalization of printed journals means for pregnant women and health professionals. This allowed us to put things more to the point" Morten Givskud says.

With a change of scenery from our own home to the GP's office or the hospital, the actors played through >>Jane's<< pregnancy. From the first consultation with the GP to the midwife consultation and further to the consultation with the birth hospital. Using humor, the actors illustrated the challenges to the point. In this case, a lost printed journal, the experience of answering questions again and again, and the tendency that the health professional sees the pregnant patient in their own context and forgets to think about the whole picture from the point of view of the patient.

The Plug and Play-platform is facing an upgrade, allowing it to perform even faster tests in collaboration with multiple parties.

"We go from being a heavy, service-oriented solution, to becoming a much more agile model using microservice technology. We build up a testing- and application model, which with simple interactions can be expanded depending on the need, so that other systems can share data across sections. The integrations will strengthen the cross-section collaboration between hospital, municipality and general practice" Morten Givskud states.

Attend WHINN
If you want to hear much more about tech solutions within the healthcare system, it is obvious to attend WHINN, Week of Health and INNovation, in Odense November 19th - 21st. 

Under the headline, Better Healthcare through Future Technology, five conference tracks set the scene. Also, interesting keynotes, matchmaking, guided tours, delegation visits, networking, exhibition, WHINN Dinner and much more. Director for WHINN, Michaela Andersen, states:

"WHINN caters to a wide audience. Academic leaders and professional program chairs arrange the five conference tracks and activities, so they cater to specific audiences. We give all attendees targeted inspiration and insight into the newest knowledge and scientific research within healthcare technology. Hope to see you!

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