A projection on the wall, whether or not supported by music – this is what helps the elderly in a care facility become more relaxed or more active. And this is just one of the healthcare support products that Qwiek makes. Soon the company will launch their third product on the market: a pillow which makes it more easy for users to fall asleep with their own music.
Today an interview with Chris Rameckers, one of the founders of Qwiek and their commercial director.
What’s your main motivation?
“In our previous company, an industrial design agency, we first came into contact with healthcare via a client. In the nursing home, all that the elderly ever did was just sit, they wandered aimlessly through abandoned corridors and met up at the elevator. That was where there was a little bit of activity and that was the most exciting thing that happened. That’s when we knew right away: we really want to do something about this. The group of people who are now in a nursing home have worked hard all their lives, often strenuous work. I don’t mean to say they’re wasting away, but it was hard to see them like this. With our products, aftercare and training, we want to make sure that this situation will change.”
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
As technically savvy guys, we really want to work with the latest technology. When we started out, an iPhone with a touchscreen was already quite a boon to healthcare as a gadget. We were in actual fact a bit too premature in coming up with our technical proposals. At first, we came up with some kind of game console with a 3D camera, but this was far too complex. It took a while for us to see that for ourselves, because every time we gave a demonstration, the seniors were enthusiastic. But without our help, they forgot how it worked and then the seniors gave up. After two new versions and a lot of investment, we let the idea die in spite of all its beauty. That was hard, but we did learn from it. Above all, it has to be simple.
What are you most proud of?
Nowadays, every week, the families of residents in care institutions tell us how happy they are with our product. That’s great to hear, that’s what you’re doing it for. The other day, a woman called to say that for more than a year she hadn’t had a conversation with her mother who has dementia. Since her mother had been using our product, she was much calmer and recognized her daughter again. I am pleased that we are an accessible company, where we are in good contact with both the nursing staff and the people who use our products.
What can we expect from you in the coming year?
We are constantly improving our product. Each year we invite nursing staff from nursing homes throughout the Netherlands that are working with Qwiek. That way we stay informed about what’s going on. We also want to launch our new product, Qwiek Snooze, which is a mat for under your pillow that helps you fall asleep with the help of music. We have also developed this product in collaboration with healthcare providers.
What makes your product better than other products on the market?
We are pleased with other technical innovations in healthcare, it helps to ensure that technology is accepted more quickly within healthcare. Because that’s hard to do sometimes. I don’t know what makes us necessarily better than other products. We focus on different types of patients than many other products do, everyone has their own specialization. But together we will all be able to make healthcare a little better.