Innovation often occurs where two worlds meet. For example, a chance conversation between pulmonologist Ralph Koppers and design duo Edwin de Boer and René Adema led to Indiveo, a young company that is sparking a small revolution at hospitals with the latest generation of patient information. Goodbye paper leaflets, welcome interactive digital videos.
Thanks to the secure link that Indiveo sent me by email after the interview, I can experience the benefits of digital patient education for myself at home. Through an access code, I enter an online platform with a clear structure.
The menu shows the tests supposedly awaiting me at the Leeuwarden Medical Center (MCL): first blood tests, then a CT thorax and finally a bronchoscopy. I can imagine something about blood tests, but the thorax and bronchoscopy? No idea what would be hanging over my head ...
Thought of everything
This is exactly why Indiveo's DiVis - digital interactive video information - are proving to be a godsend. Accessible animations lead me step by step through the studies within minutes, with a voice-over supporting the images with explanations.
In addition, pictograms and short texts provide clear information about preparation, possible risks and aftercare. The route numbers of the appropriate departments in the MCL are also handy. Everything has been thought of, even a short introduction of the doctor doing the examination and the possibility to send feedback. Such a good start gives confidence in the process you will be entering as a patient.
Over 30,000 patients in the Northern Netherlands have already been informed through Indiveo in the past year. What is the effect of this? 'People are less uncertain and afraid of what is going to happen,' says Ralph Koppers, the initiator behind Indiveo and lung specialist at MCL. 'Examinations and appointments run more smoothly as a result. We also expect to improve the quality of treatments.
After all, through Indiveo, doctors and specialized nurses need to spend less time on information; time that can be used, for example, for a good conversation about the options. Ultimately, we want to move toward shared decision making in medical care, and that can only succeed with well-informed patients.
Image and sound
Deciding together is quite something. Isn't it best for the doctor to explain it himself? 'We make these animations in close cooperation with medical institutions. They know from experience that everything doctors say in the consultation room is often largely forgotten at home. Tension and emotions play a major role and the use of professional jargon does not help either.
For that reason - required by law - we always provide information leaflets, but that doesn't work for everyone by a long shot. Apart from obstacles such as low literacy and language or cultural differences, it is well known that people nowadays read less. In the online world, images and sound are much more important; that is a language that penetrates more quickly and seems to stick better.'
Better than Google
'Especially in medical care, understandable patient information in images and sound is very welcome,' the pulmonologist knows from experience.
'Most people have no idea what goes on inside hospitals, but also have little understanding of how their own bodies work, let alone the impact of medication and treatments. This can lead to all sorts of ghost images, sometimes fueled by incorrect information on the Internet.
We can't prevent patients from Googling, but we can ensure that they get quality, customized medical information - compact, clear, easy, reliable and always accessible.
Innovation in care
Indiveo helps to put the patient truly at the center and thus also contributes to innovation within hospitals. Koppers: 'Within the MCL, for instance, our total solution fits perfectly with the objective of working paperless. Digital patient information is more efficient, more up to date, cheaper in the long run and can be applied individually.
Moreover, it is measurable, which is great for the quality processes within the hospital. We have insight into the click routes, see where users drop out or look, and receive direct feedback from both patients and hospitals. This allows us to continuously improve the quality of the information.
Investing as a community
To make the shift to interactive patient information also financially possible within hospitals - where cost savings are becoming increasingly important - Indiveo devised an innovative investment model. 'MCL alone has over 800 different leaflets in circulation.
Having everything converted into DiVi's costs a pretty penny, but by getting more hospitals to join, we can share the costs and avoid everyone having to reinvent the same wheel. We have created a community where participants can both rent DiVi's and have them developed themselves, with a return on investment. In this way we are taking patient education to a higher level in a feasible way.'
Learning every day
In addition to MCL, the Friesian hospitals Tjongerschans, Nij Smellinghe and Antonius are already on board, and Indiveo is in talks with other medical centers in the Netherlands. 'It is overwhelming how fast it can
go,' says Koppers. 'It has been less than three years since I met Edwin and René and now we already have a team of nine people.
Thanks to an innovation grant, we were able to build Indiveo for a year. After the successful pilot, we started rolling out and now there are already more than 100 DiVi's in circulation. Thanks to feedback from the field, we can expand and sharpen where necessary. Everything to fulfill our mission: good and understandable information for patients.'