ImproveCareNow Daan_hekking

Pling - the anatomy of a health education application

Last November I wrote about a personalised health literacy application, which I developed as part of my master in Advanced Product Design, for children who recently have been diagnosed with a form of IBD. In this previous article, I explained why we should improve our health education for this target group and what the benefits could be if children become more interested in educating themselves independently about their newly diagnosed disease. This article will dive into the actual health education application, which is called Pling.

Top Ten LOOP Posts of 2018

LOOP is making an impression on the IBD community!

We enter December 2018 with 60 new posts, shared by 40 ImproveCareNow community members! And 27 people posted for the very first time in 2018. Posts covered topics like: IBD research, mental health, new PAC member intros, ICN event updates, what I wish you knew, and many honest accounts of life with IBD.

We are thankful for each and every one of these stories. Here are the top 10, most viewed, posts of 2018!

Pling - Personalised Health Literacy

Learning isn’t always fun but accepting that you live with a chronic disease can be downright terrifying. Whether we like it or not, we must do our best to become familiar with the ins and outs (no pun intended) of a life where IBD plays a huge role.

A few months ago, I graduated from the Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden, with a master in Advanced Product Design. For my thesis I attempted to translate my own Crohn’s disease experiences into something which could help others. I think I succeeded and would love to share the outcome of my master thesis – Pling – with everyone.

Rethinking education for recently diagnosed, paediatric IBD patients

A while ago I wrote an article where I explained who I am, how I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, how I got to know ImproveCareNow and the plans of my master thesis. In early January I officially started my master thesis at the Umeå Institute of Design and in the last two and a half months I have gotten the opportunity to connect with experts and patients all across the world. I have organised a workshop at Shire’s office in Zug, Switzerland, where we tried to identify areas where a paediatric patients, caretakers or caregivers can be supported along their experience with IBD. A week later I attended the annual European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation’s Congress in Vienna, Austria where I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Richard Colletti (President & Executive Network Director of ImproveCareNow) in person, along with other leading experts in the field of paediatric IBD.

In this post I would like to reveal two ideas I have developed here at the Umeå Institute of Design and ask for your thoughtful feedback to improve them. These ideas are concepts for products, which are not yet fully developed or widely available. 

Design and IBD?


When someone thinks about design, most likely this person associates it with the aesthetics of an object. This is not wrong because creating an aesthetically pleasing product, digital or physical, is part of the profession. But it is much more than the looks of a solution for an identified problem. Design has so much potential to strengthen and give power to a group of people and I am making it my mission to maximise this potential, rather than just focusing on the looks of a product. There are a lot of good examples of how ethnographic research, co-creating solutions with patients & experts, following trends, prototyping and iteration based on user testing can create fantastic product solutions. Because of that, I am exploring the benefit of design for paediatric IBD patients, who unfortunately will have a whole life of disease management ahead of them. Currently, I am working on my master thesis in Advanced Product Design at the Umeå Institute of Design in northern Sweden and hope to work together with you!

My name is Daan Hekking, I am 24 years old, born in The Netherlands and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 18.

Built by Veracity Media on NationBuilder