Public-private collaboration to improve the psychiatric care environment

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improving the psychiatric care environment

Watch how we helped Västerbotten County Council to modernize their psychiatric ward

Västerbotten County Council (Sweden) and Philips Healthcare have formed a novel public-private collaboration with the purpose of creating effective and innovative solutions to meet the challenges of the healthcare sector.


The project aims to test new solutions that could improve the care environment and care processes at Ward 2 in the largest psychiatric clinic at Norrland’s University Hospital in Umeå built in the 1960s. Issues at this facility include overcrowding, high staff turnover and readmissions, long patient stays and limited patient activities.


Philips Healthcare consultants took a holistic approach to improving the psychiatric services at the clinic. They did research, collected best practices from experts around the world, and developed a spatial analysis and Experience Flow for Ward 2 to identify improvement opportunities.


The renovated Ward 2 opened in 2017. The learnings from this project will be used to create an optimal new psychiatric care facility planned for 2020. 

Västerbotten Psychiatric Ward has won the service design award 2018!

I’m amazed at how easy going and professional you all are. You have done excellent work and have captured all aspects possible. You have interviewed the patients and the staff in a very humble way. You have not judged us and I am really looking forward the next phase. It would be great if you could stay here and do more work with us.”

Head of Ward 2

Our approach

The project was kicked off in April 2015 with a visit by representatives from Västerbotten County Council and Philips Healthcare consultants to the GGzE (Dutch Association of Mental Health and Addiction Care Eindhoven) in the Netherlands. Philips and the GGzE have been collaborating on Ambient Experience concepts to improve mental healthcare for several years.


Furthermore, the project program included:


  • Strategy - Research and interviews
  • Experience Flow Mapping
  • Concept and process development
  • Value model development
  • Pre and post-intervention study

New design open work stations

Open work stations and a more open layout

New design activity room

Activity room

New design comforting room

Comforting room

New design intake room

Intake room

New design retreat room

Retreat room

The new designs for the ward will have an impact on the daily routine of patients and staff.


The project has already contributed to a further strengthening of the commitment by both partners to the long-term collaboration. It has also provided useful input  as  how a partnership should be established.


The renovated Ward 2 opened in 2017. In the months following the new design, the use of new technology and way of working will be evaluated by staff and patients. The feedback and learnings from this pilot will be used in the design in the new psychiatric ward that will be built.

Meet our team

Werner Satter

Werner Satter

General Manager Experience Solutions

Werner and his team help hospitals and healthcare systems develop people-centric care solutions to help improve the quality of care delivery. His expertise spans the fields of research, design innovation, new business development, and marketing.

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Niels Buning

Niels Buning

Director Business Development & Marketing EMEA

In his role Niels and team provide strategic advice and implementable value-added solutions to healthcare organizations that improve patient and staff experience. Working across EMEA has given him broad cultural knowledge and insights on patient and staff challenges. The common thread in his career is to always put at the heart of any solution, both the patient and provider; to support inclusivity and improve sustainability.

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Recent success

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