Not so often a patient also expresses the wish to think along about innovation for healthcare. My passion, innovating for healthcare, has always been central to my education, work and PhD research. It is therefore natural for me to offer that passion (and the knowledge gained) without obligation to the care-providers I have been dealing with for months now due by illness. Some care providers are positive about this, for others it mainly leads to confusion.

The last group indicates that they find it important that I am primarily a patient and not their designer. They are not open to it, because they fear it will distract from my treatment. Absolutely well-intentioned. Unfortunately it works. Every time I’m told this, I feel a little more patient and less Ingebee. As a patient I don’t like going to the hospital and I’m happy when I’m outside again. As Ingebee, however, I am fascinated when I look around in a hospital and I am feeling all kinds of ideas coming up. Not only some caregivers, but now also I sometimes get confused. In particular, very time my (free) offer to co-operate is rejected, while for decades several hospitals have found it very attractive when I think along and help them innovate.

It makes me think about that special relationship between patient and care provider. I know and experience that almost all healthcare providers are eager to help patients with great dedication. For some it may feel a bit like a chef in a three-star restaurant: they work incredibly hard to deliver top quality and thus pamper their guests and provide service as much as possible. Then I, their guest, walk into the kitchen with my sleeves rolled up and have ideas for innovations. Many chefs might also be surprised by that.

However, there are major differences with a three-star restaurant. As a patient, the illness can leave you feeling powerless and sidelined. Add to this the fact that as a patient you have to accept that you are repeatedly discussed about (not with) in a multidisciplinary team. And in these meetings they estimate what you can handle as a patient. If you are also stuck with each other not just for one evening, but for months, then I think it can become really important to start a conversation about how you could best work together. This requires a wide spectrum of customization, which is quite complicated within the guidelines and protocols for which we all held healthcare professionals accountable.

Some caregivers are really open to it and find it fascinating to learn something from me as well, instead of just me learning a lot from them. Or talk to me about our collaboration. I give them bonus points. We are going to have a great time together!