In Memoriam Ingeborg Griffioen.

Ingeborg Griffioen, designer, researcher, founder of Panton and Metromapping, and passionate advocate of shared decision making.  In this tribute, colleagues pay tribute to her drive, determination and many talents.


Photo of Ingeborg Griffioen
Ingeborg Griffioen.

To our great sadness on Wednesday, 13th April 2022, Ingeborg Griffioen died, at the age of 50 years. Many will remember her impressive keynote lecture at the 2021 EAPC conference, called ‘Using the lived experience for re-designing care pathways’. She departed with acceptance of the inevitable and in connection with those she loved and who loved her.  

Ingeborg was founder and owner of Panton design studio, specialising in healthcare design. In 2016, she started her PhD research on how service design could support shared decision making. Less than one year later, her husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Ingeborg incorporated their experiences with his care trajectory into her research, which led to the development of MetroMapping, a method to support shared decision making in oncology. The methodology builds on her empirical research for her PhD, featured in a paper for Cancer Medicine called ‘The bigger picture of shared decision making’.  Her concept is summarised on the Metromapping website as ‘…a better overview and understanding of the care path (including the unpredictability), the information provision, a clear role and tasks division and collaboration between the parties involved, and the environment in which the care takes place. The map is the starting point for improving the care path together and ultimately for creating and mapping out a route that best suits each patient’. During the development process for this concept, within three years after the death of her beloved Wouter, Ingeborg herself was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was one of Ingeborg’s dreams that MetroMapping be further developed and implemented at a large scale. Even during her chemotherapy, she contributed to the 4D PICTURE project proposal, which focuses on adapting, evaluating and implementing MetroMapping in hospitals throughout Europe. Early 2022, we received the news that Ingeborg’s dream will come true, as 4D PICTURE was selected for funding by Horizon Europe. Ingeborg wrote a beautiful testimonial for 4D PICTURE:

‘As a designer I have worked for 25 years in healthcare settings and as a researcher I studied treatment decision-making. I know the importance of thinking carefully about treatment goals and weighing benefits and risks. I thought I knew my way around in healthcare…

Then, in 2016, my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and in early 2021, I turned out to have Triple Negative breast cancer. Twice I experienced a burdensome trajectory. Twice, there were clinicians who intended to involve us in decision-making processes. However, twice, I often felt overwhelmed and unable to navigate the many treatment steps and decisions. Information was confusing and roles of caregivers were often unclear.

The problem turned out to be the unresponsive healthcare system, a system in which people and their needs get lost.

My experiences, as patient, as partner, as designer and researcher, inspired me to lay the foundation for the MetroMapping method. A first step to redesign entire care paths, together with patients, families, and clinicians.

My dream is to improve healthcare systems all around Europe, with patients at the heart of all care. This requires thinking big. I am so happy to be involved in a dedicated team of researchers, designers, clinicians and patient advocates. A team that knows how to use Big Data and that has drafted a solid plan, targeted at a web-based, user-friendly, open-source method and manual of MetroMapping, that includes support for decision making, and is freely accessible for all European hospitals and (future) patients. I’m in!’.

In her last three months of life, which she called her ‘bonus time’, Ingeborg set up a Foundation to support work on MetroMapping. Throughout her disease process she shared her ideas, experiences, and dreams in her own blog, using striking metaphors and imagery.  

Ingeborg initiated and inspired. She taught us so much and will continue to inspire many: designers, clinicians, researchers, quality of care staff, patients, and all others dedicated to improving the care trajectories and experiences of patients and their caregivers.

In loving memory, 

Anne Stiggelbout, Marleen Kunneman, Arwen Pieterse. Medical Decision Making, Leiden University Medical Center.

Dirk Snelders, Marijke Melles, Ena Voûte. Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology.

Judith Rietjens, Ida Korfage. Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam.

Jasper Brands, Mario de Zeeuw. Panton Design Studio, Deventer.


Links and resources


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This entry was posted in INTERVIEWS & TRIBUTES, PATIENT & FAMILY CARE and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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