Where did it all start?

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On an early december morning in 2015 the staff room of the hematology department at Rigshospitalet, nurses and doctors from Rigshospitalet, Odense University Hospital and a product designer and pharmaceut from Smith Medical were gathered to participate in a workshop arranged by us, the codesign team behind the project, “Chemo to go, please (1.0)” (Aagaard et al., 2016).

At the workshop we presented status of our research about the patient’s’ service journey with home chemotherapy. We had visualized the journey with all the different steps the patients had been through and their positive and negative feelings were written down for the medical staff to explore. We asked the participants to mark the places that they found particularly critical or inspiring. Through this exercise we experienced a quite fragmented journey, which appeared around the challenge of not having the patient present in the hospital 24/7. We also learned that the two hospitals were practicing the treatment very differently, which started a conversation and a sharing of experience with specific situations, such as the education sessions about home treatment that are conducted one-to-one at Odense, but are done in groups at Rigshospitalet. Afterwards, we got invited to a bigger meeting with six hematology departments from various hospitals in Denmark, where the implementation of home chemotherapy was discussed. One of the biggest conversation themes, was the fact that every department had practiced their own ways of treating and dealing with patients. For us this was the point of no return, because we realized the need for a more coherent treatment throughout Denmark. In this present thesis project we want to explore the currently implemented journeys of home chemotherapy, with the ambition of creating a more effective and holistic service journey, based on the eyes and methods of a co-designer.

“Sometimes it’s not the big changes that are needed. It’s like a kaleidoscope, just by shifting the angle a tiny bit you can make a huge difference”. (Patient inddragelse, 2016)

These inspiring words by Center for cancer and health in Copenhagen, opened up the conference “Patient involvering” arranged by Planetree and Finsencenteret at Rigshospitalet on the 23th of February 2016, for the medical staff and stakeholders like us. We realized during presentations from nurses, doctors and patients that creating big changes in everyday practices doesn’t always means big inventions, but that small changes in the practice can also make a big difference. For example, the patient representative Erik Schrøder explained that:

“[him] and [his] wife called the waiting room the ‘deaths atrium’ because all the posters with events and the flyers on the table were expired by several months” (Patient inddragelse, 2016)

This is a good example of how a small adjustment of making sure that the posters and flyers were up to date created a much better impression on Erik.
Planetree pointed out the fact that sometimes we need to look at the already existing experience and investigate the flow instead of creating something new. It’s not rocket science but as the chef of innovation at Rigshospitalet says:

“we need to discover the undiscovered”.

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