Three approaches to design engineering in the health domain: a systemic perspective

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Pannunzio, Valeria; Kleinsmann, Maaike; Snelders, Dirk
Series: ICED
Institution: Delft University of Technology
Section: Design for healthcare
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


This paper proposes a categorization of existing approaches to healthcare-related engineering design based on systems thinking principles. Three existing approaches to healthcare-related engineering design are isolated which contribute differently to health systems fundamental purposes and interconnections. The three approaches are labeled as 'silent', 'overt', and 'convergent' health design. Each approach is defined and illustrated through an example. Following, practical advantages and disadvantages of each approach are discussed. A reflection is offered on the expected relevance of the convergent health design approach for present and future societal challenges in the health domain, and specifically on the recently growing field of e-health. Finally, open methodological challenges related to convergent health design are outlined and characterized as opportunities for future research.

Keywords: E-Health, Systems thinking, Systems Engineering (SE), Participatory design, Biomedical design


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