Participatory biomedical approach with partnership building

D. J. Tsai, Y. Chen, Y. C. Chen, S. D. Lee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose: The objective of this project is to establish a platform for developing smart technology using the Living Labs approach in tribal areas of Taiwan in order to empower high mountain indigenous peoples and ameliorate their marginal position in society. Living Labs are a widely adopted concept for participatory design aimed at 'sensing, prototyping, validating, and refining complex solutions in multiple and evolving real-life contexts'1. Starting from William Mitchell's concept of participatory methodology for researching users' real living environments with the goal of innovating services, products, or applications, this action research employs a Living Labs methodology to design services, products, or applications for users' real environments in tribal areas2,3. We also want to explore whether or not the concept of user innovation offers an approach to bridging tribal and professional communities and to promoting community health in tribal areas. Method: We are establishing an experimental field that provides smart technology to assist the elderly in an indigenous township through cooperation between a regional hospital, the county health bureau, a leading tele-care company, the health care device industry, tribal leaders, and tribal networks for promoting community health. The university- community partnership coordinates the project, which is aimed at reducing health gaps in this region4. The project also incorporates service learning as part of a formal curriculum designed for medical and premedical students; students work with the indigenous community to apply the concept of collaborative design in the development of a process, product, marketing model, or business model5. Results & Discussion: The concept of user innovation provides a feasible approach to building bridges between tribal and professional communities and to promoting community health in tribal areas. After cultivating sufficient familiarity with healthrelated information technology and establishing a partnership between the research team and community residents, we have shown that an indigenous tribe can function as an experimentation environment for shaping technology in real-life contexts. This participatory approach to professional practice will help build a learning environment that makes minorities an inseparable part of designing new business models or business plans, with an eye toward greater justice in the future.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)149-150
    Number of pages2
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Action research
    • Communication & governance
    • University-community partnership

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geriatrics and Gerontology
    • Gerontology
    • Biomedical Engineering


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