Palliative care – what does it really mean?

The past three weeks of immersing in palliative care have been intense. We started off by meeting the key stakeholders of the Lerum commune’s elderly and home care unit, followed by an early morning meeting with one of the night nurses.

We spent the following week immersing into the world of palliative care at the Alingsas hospital. Though many consider palliative care as the last phase (i.e. days-weeks-months) before dying, we could see that these are the moments when patients feel most alive. The intensity of the emotions that we have witnessed would it be in palliative ward or following the team on home visits, has been beyond our expectations.

Having no prior experience in the palliative care, we learned that medical procedures and treatments are only small parts of the care. The psychological, social and existential side of the care are as important, if not more valuable than medical. Doctor typically has “the talk” (called brytpunktssamtal in Swedish) with the patient at the same time as he provides support to spouses, children, and young family members. We have observed how nurses, social workers and assistant nurses engage in excellent team work in Alingsas hospital. Our clinical immersion thus far has taught us a lot.

At the same time, we managed to identify several needs that we will continue to investigate. We would like to observe further many of the other routines and procedures that the palliative team performs. During the next few weeks, we plan to observe other departments in order to have a better understanding of the patient’s journey starting from a diagnosis through treatment to palliative care phase.

Igors Berkovics

CIF 2019

Primary care – the first encounter with patients

Entrance of Norra primary care center in Norrtälje.

STOCKHOLM – one fourth of the observation phase in the primary care centers, Norra and Södra Vårdcentral at Tiohundra in Norrtälje, has already passed. We are mapping out and observing both staff and patients, each day we get more insight into the primary care systems and flows, and the incredible width and skills needed to run a vårdcentral.

What is primary care – Vårdcentral?

•be the population’s first contact with the care •be easily accessible to the population during the daytime hours •responsible for preventive work, diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation for the most care needs
•responsible for emergency health and medical care that does not require hospital care •refer to other care when needed and coordinate and integrate the care offered to the patient •see to the patient’s overall conditions and needs (SOU 2016: 2 p.43).

The mission for primary care according to the Landsting:

Tiohundra does well

We are very impressed by the close cooperation we observed between Tiohundra’s different units, hospital and vårdcentrals – no surprise that Tiohundra won the Bridge Builder Award now in 2019!

The motivation for awarding Tiohundra: “To endorse new chains for patients between care, primary care and hospital with endurance and holistic view. This year’s bridge builders have shown that persistent cultural change, interprofessional working methods and patient collaboration, and have the potential to address society’s greatest health challenges on a larger scale. ”

Besides from Norra and Södra primary care centers we also visited Bergshamra this Tuesday. The beautiful weather accompanied us and we were excited to be able to observe the way of working in this smaller and more remote vårdcentral.  

First needs identified

In the coming week, we will dig deeper into the local needs that have the potential for further development and implementation. These needs will be presented to a reference group consisting of staff and experts in primary care to undergo an initial inspection.

For more updates, stay tuned and keep on reading our blog,
Annelie Hultman

CIF, 2019

Introducing Team Gothenburg 2019

GOTHENBURG – Today marks the first week of clinical immersion for the Gothenburg team.

Who are we?

Meet Team Palliative.

From left to right: Amina, Igors, Adnan and Marcus.

We might not have the most impressive team name you’ve ever heard. Does it sound as cool as Gangster Squad, The Avengers or Fellowship of the Ring?Maybe not, but it’s more about the contents!

We are a team consisting of four people with four very different backgrounds and skillsets.     

Amina Kadribasic a human-centered Service Designer, who is passionate about design-driven innovation in healthcare. She pursues the life of a multi-disciplinary collaborator, practicing teaching, design thinking, conflict mitigation and business design.    

Igors Berkovics is an Entrepreneur with a background in medical devices and digital health. He has several innovation programs in his backpack, and has until now been busy running his own startup.        

Adnan Albuhtori is a Medical Doctor with an entrepreneurial mindset and enthusiasm for innovation in healthcare. He started his residency in Anasthesiology in his home country. Years later he left, pursuing a new life in Sweden. At the side of getting a Swedish medical license, he worked on improving his business-oriented skills in digital healthcare through hackathons, courses, events and working in startups.   

And me, Marcus Bilgec, is a Registered Nurse and Mechatronics Engineer with a passion for product development. I have experience working in a hospital and caring for patients with neurodegenerative diseases and stroke. For the last two years, I have worked as a Mechanical Developer at Cellink, a start-up that develops products for 3D bioprinting.

The mission

Our mission is to develop a product during these eight months that can make it to the healthcare market. We have worked together for three weeks so far, preparing for the steps in the bio-design process. Last week, we started our clinical immersion at Alingsås hospital and Lerum municipality, researching needs of various stakeholders.    

What does palliative mean? Palliative care is medical care of people with terminal illness. Not only does the palliative patient face physical health problems like anxiety & panic, nausea, breathlessness, confusion; furthermore, they face many psychological health issues like fear, anxiety, sadness and depression.     

Something that might be missed by the healthcare are the social challenges the palliative patient is going through, like the financial problems that the person’s family faces of losing income, managing complex relationships and the person having to say farewell to everyone. Besides all this, having a terminal illness often is connected to an existential crisis.    

To be continued. Stay tuned to see how it goes!   

Marcus Bilgec    

CIF, 2019

Clinical Immersion Day 1

Pictured at RISE in Umeå, Sweden. From left: Dr. Petra Szeszula, Ph.D. Molecular biology, Dr. Essam Sharaf, M.D., Annelie Hultman, designer from Konstfack, and Dr. Anna Melker, Ph.D. Materials Chemistry. The four members of Team Stockholm are starting their Clinical Innovation Fellowship at Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.

STOCKHOLM — Today we started our clinical immersion at the Norrtälje Vårdcentralen, Tiohundra. Our team includes a medical doctor, a designer, an engineer, and an economist/biologist. We bring experience from founding startups in digital health and diagnostics, and inventing personalized 3D printed objects for Parkinson’s patients. Together we represent four countries: Egypt, Czech Republic, Sweden, and the United States. We share a common passion for changing healthcare to be more patient-focused. Watch this blog to follow our journey from observing the clinic to founding our company to bringing healthcare innovation to life.

About the fellowship program: Based on the Bioinnovation program started at Stanford University, the Clinical Innovation Fellowship brings together a multidisciplinary team to solve the critical challenges in healthcare. With funding from the Erland Persson Stifelse and support from Karolinska Institutet and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the fellows are hosted by the Swedish national research institute, RISE, providing assistance with cutting edge product development to the team.

Will applied mathematics help Elhabib to elaborate an optimal shooting strategy?

To shoot, or not to shoot, that is the question.

Elhabib warming up before the game.

During the traditional wheelchair basketball game, clinical innovation fellows are constantly faced with the choice of whether to shoot for the hoop or to hold on to the ball and hope a better opportunity will arise. Right before the game, Elhabib, our expert in optimization, tried to use his knowledge to elaborate an optimal shooting strategy without the help of a computer.

Did the strategy work?

Considering the final score, the current strategy may need some refinement.

Stay tuned, for more update!

Clinical Innovation Fellows 2017-2018


Simulation and Role Playing for Hospital Physical Environment Design

Patients falling in hospitals are a major problem in healthcare that usually goes unseen. Statistics show there are about 70,000 – 100,000 cases yearly in the U.S. Falling in hospitals results often in medical consequences that include fractures and bleedings, including internal bleedings. This makes preventing falls a priority when designing hospital physical environments. Technology today brings new possibilities for stakeholders involved in the design of hospitals and understanding different requirements for different user groups.

Semra takes the time to take a picture during her role play with a walking aid.

Battery recharged – Let’s invent!

The beginning of December has been really intensive for team Rehab. We concentrated our energies to get a deep knowledge on our unmet clinical needs and to recruit four master students, which will help us to provide local improvements for the Highly Specialized Pain Rehab Clinic at Danderyds hospital.

Luckily the holiday season came right in time to help us recharging our battery. Some of us opted for recharging at lower temperatures, like Jenny and Akvile, while Raoul, and me chose warmer charging stations.

The Golden Gate Bridge (Photo credits: Giampaolo)

Frozen lake in Dalarna (Photo credits: Jenny)

Most interestingly, while in San Francisco I got the chance to meet the Director of Global Strategic Marketing and Innovation for Johnson & Johnson. He screened our clinical needs and provided great feedback that will help us to determine which need has the greatest potential to take forward into invention.

Team Rehab is (almost) ready to invent!


Keep you posted!


All set to start medical innovation in 2018!

It is the holidays season. The time of the year when everyone is hopeful and looking ahead with new resolutions and goals. The last month of 2017 was a tale of work for team medicine. The last week helped us pave the ground for an upcoming six months of excitement and innovation.

Matt, Semra and Elhabib discussing final needs.

It is the (S)elections month!

400 observations, 200 needs and 90 commercial needs was the outcome of the observation phase. We are now at the second phase going through the need selection that will result in the choice of the one and only need that we will continue with for the rest of this process.

Going through needs

This November, busy is definitely the word. Team medicine has just gone through three crazy weeks. The meeting with our business mentors at the beginning of November was valuable. Their feedback on the 10 commercial needs that we presented lead us to area to investigate further.  General aspects we should look at both to reformulate our needs and do research on them.

Semra making an argument as we discuss needs

Barcelona Fellows Graduation and Shared Take-away Lessons. A Joint Team Update.

Three of us from CIF (Clinical Innovation Fellowship): Anton and Semra from Team Medicine, and Jenny from Team Rehab, had the honour of traveling to Barcelona and joining the Moebio (Biocat, Barcelona) fellows to participate in their graduation ceremony! Each of the three teams presented their respective projects in a final graduation pitch to a jury, followed by a question period – wow, what an impressive display! We wish you good luck and diplomacy in pursuing the market in present day in your country(ies). There were also several speeches including a keynote speech by Toby Reid (Biocity, UK), some of whose points we summarise below. Following the graduation we participated in a networking mingle and dinner, as well as a knowledge-sharing workshop the next day.

”Get connected and find true validated product market fit and everything else will get a lot easier.” Toby Reid

We weren’t the only lucky fellows to be part of this ceremony, three Bioinnovate (Ireland) fellows made the trip as well! There was a lot of networking and some really great information sharing going on. All this was interspersed with some delicious food (all dining recommendations gathered by food maestro Anton), shopping enjoyed by all, some barefoot beach walking enjoyed by Semra, while Jenny could not get enough of the sun. The constant ’cafe cortados’ kept us all going strong despite our early morning flight.

We learned that even though we’re in different hospitals, in different countries, our experiences are much the same. We learned that the first reason for startups to fail is that there is no market need. We learned to not make it easy for ourselves to prove a need, we need to question and revise it all the time!

We had an inspiring and constructive knowledge sharing session between our three programs. The Irish fellows are also at the beginning of the needs validation phase, as we are, and the now all-knowing Barcelona graduates were able to share there experience on all our needs validation and team building questions! The international knowledge sharing across schools was a great concept that we hope to keep up!

We enjoyed the people, the feedback, the weather, the food, and have gathered energy and ideas to bring home to our teams. We feel inspired and ready for the next phase!

Congratulations again to all the Moebio Biocat Fellows – well done!

Anton, Jenny, and Semra