The future of healthcare

A healing environment

In 2015, BLOC developed the strategy for the Het Dorp Academy. In 2016, BLOC set up the Health Deal between public and private partners.

Read more

Towards the Healthiest Ecosystem imaginable

Today’s society requires a different approach to healthcare, and a new model for the housing of people with disabilities. Het Dorp will be that model.

Independent living

According to the United Nations, 10 percent of the world’s population (more than 700 million people) have serious disabilities. In the Netherlands, 5.3 million people live with chronic disease, a third of the total population. Enormous benefits can be gained by focusing on prevention and better treatment of degenerative diseases.

Het Dorp has achieved a leading position in independent living for people with major disabilities. Since technology is crucial to retaining this position, Het Dorp has the ambition of become the smartest possible next-generation health environment, and not just for the disabled. People with and without disabilities live and work together in a place where quality of life and independence are greatly valued. In Het Dorp, technology and residents coexist in symbiosis, and a unique innovation centre serves as the accelerator for healthcare and society. This is based on three principles.

Design: DoepelStrijkers, Rotterdam

Design: DoepelStrijkers, Rotterdam
Het Dorp: the future of healthcare

1. The future of healthcare: technology first

Het Dorp is a learning environment for people, incorporating software and hardware within buildings and their surroundings. For example, two new showcase apartments were equipped with as much integrated technology as possible. With the help of electronic sensors, residents can operate all their domestic appliances, or welcome visitors with just one click on a tablet. Artificial intelligence, robotics, domestic electronics and serious gaming are used to develop new applications and treatments. Likewise, the use of big data and the internet of things are helping to improve healthcare. Het Dorp is part of several product innovations, including GoOV, which helps people travel on their own by public transport. By building a coherent system of innovations in Het Dorp, a smart health and wellbeing ecosystem is created in which buildings give more than they take. They do this by creating a healthy and comfortable environment for the occupants, with a positive environmental footprint. Compared to regular approaches to sustainable building, these active houses take a more human-centred approach.

2. Focus on the user as a co-developer

Technology helps disabled clients to be more independent, and institutions to provide the best care possible. User experience is extremely important in the development of Het Dorp, and residents and outside companies are all part of this transformation process. It is of crucial importance that the development towards a smart, healthy ecosystem occurs in a way that is both smart and slow. Since this is a radical transition, small steps are needed to ensure that the development remains manageable for residents, healthcare institutions and partners. In one programme, called CareWithMe, the client and healthcare institution work on various future scenarios, learning to organize their care and assistance. This means a huge shift in the organization’s business model, from taking care of the client to taking care with the client.

3. Humans and technology meet in a real life innovation center

As a follow-up to the two showcase apartments, the next new building in Het Dorp, being constructed in 2016, is an apartment block and innovation centre combined. This iconic structure shines a new light on housing and healthcare. It is a smart, sustainable symbiosis between the building and its users, based on the principles of the active house and healing environment, in which buildings create healthier and more comfortable lives for their occupants without impacting negatively on their surroundings. The interior climate and energy use are balanced, residents’ health and comfort are the main focus, and the adjoining structures contribute to their social, mental and physical wellbeing. Here again, the buildings give more than they take.

The citizens of Het Dorp are the most important contributors to its many innovations.
In this way, they take charge of their own lives.

Connecting innovations with new business models

When it comes to shaping the future of healthcare and making a real difference, merely collecting new technologies is not enough. A development of this kind requires an unusual kind of collaboration. A consortium of governments, research institutes and companies has been founded to bring together the best organizations in the field of healthcare, technology and construction. Over the coming years, they will realize the major ambitions of Het Dorp in the Het Dorp Academy, a source of research, creativity and ground-breaking innovation. The academy accelerates and develops new products that can be tested and applied immediately. The crossovers between different fields lead to new innovations and business models, the residents become more independent, and healthcare expenses decrease. These scalable innovations can also be applied in other areas of healthcare worldwide.

Next project