More Human Technology: The Best Design Puts the End User at the Center

Medical device —
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Tordis Abrahamsen has long had a passion for helping other people and solving problems. The past few years, Abrahamsen has been passionate about to increase the quality of life for people who live at home but need some supplementary assistance from home health aides. Abrahmsen has been especially vocal about the issue of how to better hygiene of people in this situation and it wasn’t long before she started talking with entrepreneurs to how the technology could solve these problems. After coming into contact with Norway Health Tech and eventually Ably Medical, Abrahamsen was invited for a visit to Oslo Research Park, so that she could share her ideas and concerns about the future of healthcare for people who require extra assistance at home.

“Technology should be about humans” says Chief Scientific Officer of Ably Medical, Cato Bjørkli and points to user Centred Design as the starting point for the Ably Bed.  “What we really want to do is make sure that our bed responds to the needs of patients and medical personnel in order to deliver better health outcomes. Technology must provide value and usefullness without sacrificing the quality of life for patients,” clarifies Bjørkli. One such way to do this is by interviewing targeted end group users, like people who have had to stay overnight in a hospital or even people who have loved ones that have endured the experience of an extended stay in a hospital, to find out more information about what end users feel is important to their experience.

“We want to hear more about what really matters to the people who are going to use our bed. Time and time again we hear about how both patients and health care providers want a solution that can maintain dignity and autonomy, while at the same time ensuring the safety and well-being of the person in the bed,” explains Bjørkli.

Tordis Abrahamsen agrees with this sentiment. At 90 years old Abrahamsen has seen the evolution of the Norwegian welfare state quite literally from the beginning and now she wants to do whatever she can to continue its success.

It all started when an excited Abrahamsen came into contact with Ably Medical through Norway Health Tech. “It´s been a passion project of mine. These past few years I’ve been thinking about all those poor people who sit at home and have to wait for long periods of time, sometimes even hours, to get help with their basic hygiene, like using the toilet, from the home help- who already have so much to do. It’s all about maintaining dignity.”

“We were really excited to have Tordis visit us. She came with ideas on how to make the bed more user friendly and was ready to share her experiences with us. We really learned a lot not just about specific ideas to specific problems, but also about the importance of upholding quality of life and dignity in face of age and reduced mobility,” says Health Technology Researcher, Maria Hviding. “Our prototype for the Ably Bed is already finished, but we are always interested in challenges that different people experience. Challenges and obstacles is the driving force for innovation. The Ably Bed is focused primarily on providing care for an in-hospital setting, but we hope to soon start prototyping ideas for an Ably Bed that’s more oriented towards use in people’s homes,” says Tove Olaussen Freeman, also a Health Technology Researcher at Ably Medical. “We are already exploring concepts in our next prototype that can help people that live alone to continue to live independent and dignified with the help of technology,” says Hviding.

The Ably Bed is set to start clinical trials in March 2018 in Ontario Canada. Here, Ably Medical will explore the needs of bed patients in hospitals and the needs of medical personnel providing care and treatment.

Do you want to know more about Ably Medical? Contact CEO Kjell-Are Furnes; ka@ablymed.com; phone +47 404 55 150


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