Jeroen Raijmakers is paving the way for healthcare innovation. As Senior Director of Healthcare Design at Philips, he is responsible for the healthcare Design Innovation Program and the creative direction of Products, Interfaces and Services. Together with Philips’ global team of designers, Raijmakers strives to deliver advanced solutions for healthcare professionals and patients whether in the hospital or at home.
Before embarking on a career as a product and interaction designer at several design consultancies, Raijmakers obtained his Master’s Degree in Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology. In 1999, Raijmakers was appointed Global Design Director of Healthcare at Philips and, under his direction, numerous award-winning solutions and user interfaces were designed at the company, including the design-led innovation program ‘Ambient Experience Design for Healthcare’. Raijmakers admits that the transition into healthcare design is a considerable challenge for any designer.
Committed to healthcare
“Working for healthcare means that you need to be committed for a longer period of time,” Raijmakers says. “It’s not something that you do just as a one-off. Having an interest in the health of people, how the medical world is organised and how, with good design, you can make positive changes there, you need to build a solid knowledge base for a few years before you can add value.”
As a Design United Visiting Professor at Delft University of Technology, Raijmakers shares his knowledge and expertise with the design community, significantly contributing to healthcare research. With a focus on digital propositions, he explores a number of relevant subjects, including innovative interaction technologies, data visualization and analytics, connected ecosystems, and user experiences related to moving healthcare outside the hospital. The designer emphasizes the need to design solutions from an end-user perspective, fostering collaboration with hospitals, healthcare professionals, technical experts and patients. More importantly, Raijmakers believes that visual quality should not be forgotten.
“Having a multidisciplinary approach and involving end-users is something we’ve been doing already for the last ten or fifteen years. But in that process, I think many designers forget that visual quality is also an important element. I would like to bring that back into focus.”
Designing a better world
That being said, Raijmakers is convinced that design research should address the growing complexity of the world we live in. “In general, we need design research to make the world a better place and maybe also a more beautiful place,” he explains. “Many things are changing faster than we as people can adapt to, so we need to find out how these changes can become the start of new, exciting and positive experiences for people.”
According to Raijmakers, healthcare design has shifted from devising single-function objects to more complex systems in a certain context of use. The next step will be to design for today’s complex world and the data and interactions involved to improve patient cure and care. “We are no longer faced with a simple situation where you have one problem and you design one solution to improve it,” Raijmakers says. “We now need to think in connected ecosystems.”