People Centered Research took the team on a two-week long investigation into the reality of the work of paramedics, focusing on their experience assisting patients sick with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Behind this brief was the ambulance provider Falck, who was looking for new ways to approach the issues around COPD.

The general focus of this investigation was to discover the practice of user research by engaging in a series of interviews with people who had been identified as relevant to the topic.

In the first days of the research, the team discovered through desk research that people living with COPD would often face life-threatening breathing crises after having their conditions degrade over a few days, with one of the most critical contributing factors being anxiety. This insight was further investigated by interviews with paramedics.

After the first week of the project, three paramedics had been interviewed about the complexity of their work and specifics of working with patients with COPD.

These interviews resulted in the formulation of three opportunity areas presented to the studio for further ideation:

  • How can paramedics obtain patients information in a more efficient way at the critical moment ?
  • How might we alert medical services in time to provide pre-crisis care for COPD patients and prevent hospitalisation ?
  • How might we optimize the ambulance of the future for the roles of taxi drivers, comfort providers, lifesavers assumed by paramedics ?

Finally, at the end of an ideation session with the entire studio around all these questions, the team chose to focus on exploring the potential of predictive analysis for prevention. This was turned into a concept that was used to present the key insights of the research to Falck.

The team imagined the Pre-Care service, a prevention service that uses sensors to monitor medication usage and detects behavior changes ahead of a potential crisis, allowing medical services to take action before it’s too late.