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Inclusive Design - a people centered strategy for innovation

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Melin Medical

Melin Medical has developed a payment service that considers the complete treatment picture and looks at the whole interaction between the patient, the person providing treatment and healthcare personnel

PROBLEM

As a doctor, Jesper Melin saw the need for a payment service that builds a bridge between the various specialist systems used by doctors, such as accounting and patient medical records, and the administration of the patient’s payments. He had experienced that a lot of time was spent on administrative tasks, time that could be spent on patient-focused work instead. Dr. Jesper Melin then came up with the idea about how patients could take greater responsibility for their own administration. By allowing the patients to take care of their own payment in a simple and intuitive way, the personnel could spend the freed time on treating patients.

APPROACH

It was important, right from the start of the project, that the design should be based on inclusive design. The focus was intently put on individual users, their abilities and maintaining their independence. The company put great effort into achieving a solution that can be used by anyone whether visually impaired, a wheelchair user or having any other cognitive or physical challenge. In order to develop solutions that give a sense of empowerment and benefit all users, the company worked hard to gain insights, collaborating with everyone from patients and doctors to technical subcontractors. The company also collaborated with interest groups, qualified personnel and designers.

“Our fundamental principle has been to obtain specialised knowledge from the inside. We have immersed ourselves deeply in the context, and we believe that we have been successful in adapting” - Anton Lorenz Bondesen, partner at Melin Medical.

Not only have the height and size of the terminals been chosen to make them accessible by those who use wheelchairs or walkers, but their placement in the environment has also been carefully thought through. The development team and all the employees at Melin Medical experience the system from the point of view of the users where they are located at the medical practices. Payment requires only two clicks, which simplifies the process for people who find digital technology challenging. High-contrast buttons, colour-coding and sound sensors enable visually impaired and even blind people to use the terminals.

The payment system has been thoroughly tested and verified down to the smallest detail. The development team, as well as all the employees at Melin Medical, have been situated at the medical practices during development and updating, so that everyone involved have been able to observe the solution in use, and how the users experience it.

RESULT

The idea of a terminal in itself is nothing new. What is innovative is the way in which the company provides new ideas for existing systems. Melin Medical is a small, private and external agent, and this means that it can see problems and bring solutions beyond existing clinical solutions and organisations.

Melin Medical is unusually highly focused on a holistic way of thinking and universal design, without losing sight of the big picture. Even if the project contains many small and innovative functions, it is the ability to make things work together that is most impressive.

The solution means that doctors have more time for key activities. Calculations so far suggest that the terminals save approximately 20% of a doctor’s time. The complete solution frees around 3 minutes per patient. If the doctor sees 30 patients a day, the saving will be 1,5 hours every day, which can be used for core activities. Not only that – the doctor is also able to get a better overall picture, since all documents and data are collected in one place, and kept up-to-date. An accountant can also access the solution electronically once a month.

The benefits of the payment solution are evident. By removing one link in the chain, the opportunities for better contact where it is important are increased, such as patient-focused work for the personnel at the doctor’s offices. What is most important about the terminal itself is the patient experience. Lighting, acoustics, colours, tactility: the way in which the terminal uses all senses makes it easy for all to understand.

Melin Medical can demonstrate strong growth from 1 million to 70 million NOK in revenue in two years. Inclusive design is an important and causative factor for success in the innovation process. This is a brilliant example of how inclusive design pays off.

"Our success is also due to the fact that accessibility for everyone was a natural thought in the process, right from the project initiation. One important factor is that everyone has had the same vision, which is to place the user in the centre at all levels” - Sine Weis Damkjær, partner at Designduo Smedegaard & Weis ApS.

Melin Medical's two payment and communication terminals, T1 and T2.

The terminals can be used by everyone, no matter what their age or abilities are.

The terminals are designed so that it is possible to access them when sitting in a wheelchair.

Every day, about 50,000 patients go through the payment system. That equals more than 12 million patients a year. Today, more than 75 % of the nation’s physicians' offices and emergency services benefit from the system.