Embassy of Health

During the first World Design Event the Innovation Powerhouse will be transformed into the Embassy of Health. Throughout WDE and DDW, the Innovation Powerhouse will display the exhibition 'Chronic Health: Designing a Healthy Future'.

The embassy deals with the interests of design and health, and shows a wide range of examples; from 'open' design and Do It Together care applications to high-end medical technology and creative prototypes. What role will design play in the grand scheme of things?

Design for health

Health is high on everyone's wish list, and our life expectancy is increasing. Thanks to technological developments, we can be more in charge of managing our own illness and health. But not with technology alone. Healthcare has improved and we are able to stretch out life expectancy: at birth, during life and at the end of life. But this progress comes with "defects". Despite shortcomings, we can lead a full, independent life.
Where healthcare used to be provided by healthcare agencies and analysed in labs, a shift to self-monitoring and diagnosis is taking place. The historical role of hospitals is no longer present. In addition, "hospitalisation" as we know it is not aimed at supporting the person in the most comfortable way whilst in hospital.
Thanks to technological developments, we can be more in charge of managing our own illness and health. When the offer does not fit the need, or there are too many delays, people and patients increasingly take possession of their own needs. Think about operating on yourself using a DIY operation robot, like the one that artist Frank Kolkman designed. How far will we take the independent development and design of new applications in care? This Do It Yourself and Do It Together- trend leads to tension between open source applications in healthcare, patents and existing economic models.

Design with empathy

With the increase in the number of chronic diseases, the question is how can we deal with these diseases as individuals. In addition, the Embassy of Health embraces Chronic Health from the relatively 'young' definition of care, namely: 'Care as the ability to adjust and direct yourself in light of social, physical and emotional challenges of life' (Huber, 2011). Chronic Health shows how we adapt to illness and limitations, manage them ourselves and go on to lead the life we want.
Thanks to technological developments, we can be more in charge of managing our own illness and health. But not with technology alone. Technology can play a vital role here, but in the absence of empathy, technological progress doesn't carry much weight. Empathy, the ability to see an experience through the eyes of another, is an indispensable feature for the design and development of meaningful healthcare solutions. Therefore, a solution for better healthcare does not necessarily have to include technology; other examples can also lead to breakthroughs in care.

Chronic Health

The Chronic Health exhibition informs a broad audience about the role of care design. We do this by showing (futuristic) high-quality, specialist technology in addition to applications made by patients, doctors and nurses themselves (Do It Yourself). Chronic health addresses the following topics:

a) The power of 'open'

Inspiring concepts and examples of 'open' care design. How do these relate to commercial initiatives? Are we able to operate on ourselves with a surgery robot arm? Do we even want that?

b) Take control

Are you looking for an application that can support you? Can't find the application? Or is the application not entirely tailored to your needs? Take control of your own care and develop your own application; as a citizen, patient, medical specialist, nurse or caretaker. But what dilemmas can you encounter when you take control of your own care?

c) Do-It-Together

Various (highly specialised technology) healthcare solutions show the added value of design (thinking) in healthcare. Crossover collaborations, in which designers, care professionals and patients participate, bring together different expertise with a result that is more than the sum of its parts. The roles of patient and doctor blur; it raises the question of how they relate to each other.

d) Utopian future

The utopian future gives the visitors a peek into how health could look in 2050. Will we live according to the 'Blue Zones' lessons, and strive to become one hundred years old or more? What does the end of life look like?

e) Future health design talents

Work by the future health design talents is displayed.

Programme Embassy of Health

The shift in healthcare and social developments brings about different dilemmas. These dilemmas are identified, demonstrated, debated and discussed in the Embassy of Health. The Embassy involves citizens in how their care can be designed. And the Embassy brings together a dynamic (international) health design network.

Main objectives of the Embassy of Health:
1. Exhibit 'Chronic Health – Designing a Healthy Future' showcasing design and creativity in and for health;
2. Bring together a dynamic (international) network in the field of design for health;
3. Engage citizens in how their health can be designed in the years to come;
4. Provide knowledge about the role of design for health.