Published: 27-11-2023 10:08 | Updated: 27-11-2023 10:10

A design thinking approach to healthcare access

Last week, a Occupational Therapy (OT) course unfolded at Campus Flemingsberg, where 22 students from 17 Nordic and Baltic countries, including 5 students from Karolinska Institutet (KI), gathered to delve into a project under the Nordplus programme.

In a world characterized by diversity and ever-evolving societal needs, addressing challenges that impact various interest groups is not just important but imperative. Central to this intensive one week course is the application of design thinking, a problem-solving methodology that places a strong emphasis on empathy, ideation, and prototyping. 

Digitization is a challenge for the elderly

A major part of the course was group work to come up with solutions to challenges for vulnerable groups in society. One of the challenges tackled by one group of students revolved around healthcare access for older individuals, especially in the realm of digital navigation through the number 1177. The students leading this initiative recognized the paramount importance of involving the actual users—the elderly—in the development process. Understanding their needs, preferences, and challenges is integral to creating a solution that genuinely addresses the issues faced by this vulnerable group. 

The picture is of the students Julia and Lizete
Julia and Lizete Photo: N/A

International perspectives in learning

For KI student Julita, this project represents more than a coursework endeavor—it's an opportunity to immerse herself in her field and profession within an international environment. The experience gained could potentially pave the way for a career abroad within the European Union, enhancing her CV and fostering professional growth.

Lizete, a second-year student from Latvia, underscores the significance of international experiences in her education. She emphasizes the value of exposing oneself to different mindsets, challenging assumptions, and incorporating fresh perspectives to address common challenges.

A great opportunity for all involved

The collaborative effort under Nordplus showcases the potency of international teams, design thinking methodologies, and inclusive approaches in addressing tangible challenges faced by vulnerable groups in society. Responsible for the course Inclusion in daily life through everyday technologies at KI Aileen Bergström concludes:

Despite a lot of work to apply for funding and plan this course, this has been a wonderful opportunity for international collaborations and learning for the students as well as the teachers.  Our Nordplus international teachers’ team and I are amazed at the hard work and creativity of the students to help solve real-life societal issues!