• Client
    Oslo Uni Hospital
  • Expertise
    Service design
  • Sector

Oslo University Hospital - Changing the lives of breast cancer patients

By reducing the waiting time for breast cancer patients from up to three months to three days, Designit’s award winning solution helped dramatically improve the lives of thousands of women facing a difficult period in their lives.

Women with a heightened risk of developing breast cancer waited up to three months before they were appointed a time at the Oslo University Hospital for examination and diagnosis. Inefficient, outdated and suboptimal, the processes did not take into account the stress of having to wait for a life-changing verdict.  

Backed by the Norwegian Design Council’s Design-Driven Innovation Programme (DIP), Designit stepped into optimise the patient’s journey for the better. The goal was to reduce waiting time and improve their entire experience.

Waiting for the verdict

The waiting period following a visit to the general physician and before visiting the hospital was identified as the most difficult part of the journey. Long waiting times of at least four to five weeks were often met with patients feeling uncertain, anxious and pressured.

In the past, procedures included a visit to a general practitioner, who would subsequently refer the at risk patient to the hospital. Here, the uncomfortable wait would begin, a crucial aspect of the entire process. Often, distressed patients would call, email or personally visit the hospital to speed up the process. This resulted in an increased level of stress for hospital staff who had to deal with patients that were naturally unsure of what was happening.

Handling of cases was previously held on a weekly basis by radiologists, pathologists, surgeons and oncologists, but if a patient was unlucky or there were too many, it was possible that their case was pushed to upcoming weeks. 

The New Breast Diagnostics Centre (BDS)

The journey towards a diagnosis has been radically reduced down to the total of three days, a previously unthinkable goal.  During the journey the patient is informed every step of the way and has the necessary support network to get through the process. The patient receives a brochure from their GP with information about what is going to happen next and they’re also given a direct phone number they can call in case they have any questions. The hospital then contacts the patient within 48 hours to schedule an examination for the following day.

On the day of the examination, the patient is greeted at the centre by a nurse and her mobile phone number is registered, so that she receives an SMS 10 minutes before every check-up. After all the necessary steps, she meets the radiologist and is given a preliminary diagnosis, which is then confirmed the day after at another meeting at the hospital, when she also receives a treatment plan.

Instead of meeting a few times a week, all the specialists involved meet every morning to discuss the patients from the day before. This ensures that all patient cases are discussed in a timely manner and the waiting time doesn’t accrue.