The aim of the Healthcare programme is to generate design requirements and methods for the design of products that focus on the medical professional, the medical environment and the patient. The focus is on human-product interaction during product use. This programme translates knowledge and skills into design guidelines for medical product concepts in medical systems. The goal is to improve the effectiveness, usability, safety and economical feasibility of products and systems.

All research is divided into three themes:

  • The Specialist (error-free task fulfilment for the specialist)
  • The Environment (influence the patient’s well-being through external factors)
  • The Patient (apply biomechanical modelling in design processes)


IDE Research Platform – Health

How can people live healthy and socially meaningful lives? 

How can we make healthcare services accessible to all?

The state of human health is evolving. In many countries, people are enjoying longer lives.

But this increase in longevity is coupled with an increase in chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease which may have gone undiagnosed in the past. The high costs of healthcare and the need for more medical staff already poses a challenge. However emerging digital technologies offer the potential for more responsive, personalised healthcare.

Research Projects

Design Innovation for Healthcare

Subject: Optimizing care in paediatric oncology
Partner: Princess Máxima Centre for Paediatric Oncology
Project Leader: Prof. dr. Huib de Ridder

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The aim is to advance the quality of patient care by creating healthcare innovations and developing scientific knowledge in which design and technology play a central role. Topics will include intelligent environments that adapt to the changing needs of children with cancer and their families, as well as new products and services that advance the excellence of Princess Máxima Centre staff. Design for development based care, patient experience and teamwork are central themes.


This research project brings together the healthcare expertise of the Princess Máxima Centre for Paediatric Oncology (Prinses Máxima Centrum voor Kinderoncologie) and Delft University of Technology’s innovation expertise.


Subject: Future products and services in hip surgery
Partner: Biomet, Reinier de Graaf Hospital
Project Leader: Prof. dr. ir. Richard Goossens

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The goal of this research project is the creation of a new care system experience in joint health that maximizes wellbeing, efficiency, comfort and safety by learning from patient experiences and their health outcomes.

The HiPP programme comprises five work packages focusing on patient empowerment, professional skills, interventions, emerging technologies and care models. The work packages contribute to an overall patient experience journey that describes the different phases in a patient’s changing hip health experience.


Three different partners work together:

Biomet, a multinational healthcare organization with a broad range of products and services that helps orthopedic surgeons provide personalized care to patients (One surgeon. One patient).
Reinier de Graaf Hospital in Delft, one of the top clinical hospitals in the Netherlands that focuses on patient centered care.

The Medisign research group at Delft University of Technology, faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, that specializes in user centered design of products and services for healthcare.


Subject: Game design principles for mental healthcare therapy
Partner: Parnassia Bavo, Ranj
Project Leader: Dr. Valentijn Visch

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The NextLevel project will generate generic game design principles for gamification of mental health interventions. These design principles will be derived from gamifications of a set of six interventions. To ensure the generic applicability of the game design principles, the effect of the gamifications are tested by means of RCTs on:

  1. the two main classes of intervention type that are in used in e-health (i.e. cognitive training and cognitive behavioural therapy);
  2. the two main categories of patient disorders (i.e. externalizing and internalizing disorders);
  3. single patient factors (i.e. comorbidity, context of use, and treatment context).

The RCTs will compare the effect of the gamified interventions versus the non-gamified interventions and critically test the expected incremental effect of gamification on the clinical effectiveness of the intervention and on the patient’s performance and experience. Knowledge of the incremental effect of gamification is mental healthcare is often assumed but almost never proved. Summarized, NextLevel will increase the value of serious game design for mental healthcare by obtaining validation effects of gamification, by presenting game design principles, and by providing guidelines for implementation.

Virtual Patient

Subject: Training alternatives for surgical skills
Partner: Skills lab of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam
Project Leader: Prof. dr. ir. Richard Goossens

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The goal of this project is to enhance teaching and learning in the first phase of surgical residency. In this phase, residents learn complex skills in complex environments. Currently little training opportunities are available outside the operating room, and those opportunities that are offered (e.g. on human cadavers or live pigs) are being used suboptimally.


In cooperation with the department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy research will be done on the learning process for novice surgeons. In cooperation with the department Medisign of the faculty of Industrial Design of the TU Delft training tools will be developed.

Tailored Healthcare

‘We are looking for a sweet spot between reality and what’s workable in healthcare’

Unfortunately, it can be a regular occurrence in the medical world: a perfectly successful operation, but a patient who is still not completely satisfied with the treatment process. Healthcare professionals are eager to improve the situation, but often have no clear image of what exactly is wrong.

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First Aid Toolkit

As PhD students doing design research in health care, we run into various hurdles and challenges as we go. We were wondering how other PhD students and design researchers in health care manage their process, to define good practice together.


IDE designer Bob Groeneveld and psychologist Tessa Dekkers are working together to investigate how patient satisfaction can be improved by tailoring the care as far as possible to suit the individual patient.