The Origin of Zipster
Zipster started in 2020 from a social engagement to lead people with care and support needs to the most appropriate support in a timely manner. Detecting needs in a timely manner, gaining insight into the local community service offer, setting up and following up on a referral… these are aspects for which there is often no structured digital support. Zipster wants to change that as a neutral platform that can support both care providers, social workers and citizens in this.
Zipster is partly inspired by the ZiHP project in the city of Antwerp and the concept of Social Prescribing. In the ZiHP project of the city of Antwerp, nurses will assist general practitioners for about three months to help them in the screening of psychosocial needs and referral to the most suitable local actors with a major focus on vulnerable groups.
Social Prescribing is a concept that is closely related to this and is being used in practice in many countries. This is being used more and more, especially in the NHS (United Kingdom), but it is also known in the Netherlands as Welzijn op Recept.
The first implementation of Zipster was made possible thanks to funding from the city of Antwerp and started in June 2020. It involved about ten primary care practices and about thirty organizations to refer to.
Zipster is committed to maximizing social impact, not maximizing financial gain. This is based on a belief that timely support for people in need is a basic right.
Why the name Zipster?
There are four mean reasons for this:
- Zip from zip code. It’s about unlocking the local network.
- Zip from zipper. Zipster wants to connect healthcare and community services.
- Zip meaning enthusiasme. Supporting the local enthusiasm.
- Een social prescribing platform built on the experiences of the ZiHP project in the city of Antwerp.
Zipster is developed as a collaboration between Health Endeavour and NSX through the initiative of Stijn Coolbrandt and Frans Verstreken.
Stijn is Managing Director of Health Endeavour and has more than 15 years of experience in digital health.
He has a great passion for building user-friendly solutions in healthcare and wellbeing. He is especially fascinated by solutions that focus on prevention.
Zipster is therefore a logical consequence of this and tries to support the timely detection of psychosocial needs and the targeted referral to the most suitable actor.
Within Zipster, Stijn is the key contact person and he ensures that everything runs smoothly operationally.
Frans is a Business Architect at NSX – Normalized Systems and has more than 15 years of experience with innovation and digitization in all kinds of sectors. Frans also has 7 years as a professional youth worker with young people in a vulnerable situation in Antwerp and Brussels.
He is fascinated by how you can get people and organizations to collaborate more effectively in the social sector. You can give the person with a support need more control in his or her process. Digital tools can often play a role in this, provided there is proper coordination with all stakeholders.
Frans represents NSX at Zipster. NSX is a university spin-off that focuses on building and managing highly flexible information systems and platforms.
Zipster is the result of a close collaboration with various partner organizations that support Zipster. Zipster wouldn’t be possible without them.