Reframing Emergency Care

Designing a patient centric information system that facilitates a seamless dialog between teams of care givers and their patients

Master thesis | individual work | 2017 | grade 8,5 | Design for Interaction | Delft University of Technology
Chair: Prof ir. Matthijs van Dijk | Mentor: Quiel Beekman | Company mentor: Frank Goethals

In my master thesis I reframed emergency care, applying the Vision in Product Design framework developed by my university mentor Matthijs van Dijk. Together with Pontes Medical – the healthcare innovation department of the University Medical Center Utrecht – I focussed on user research and participatory design at the hospital’s emergency department. The result is a patient centric information system that facilitates a seamless dialog between teams of care givers and their patients.

With emerging e-health technologies, and changing patient behaviours, healthcare services need to transform accordingly towards a more connected and patient centric care system. In my research, four types of future emergency patients were revealed and led to a proposition for an aligned workflow for ambulances and hospitals:

How can we link ambulances, emergency nurses and doctors to better communicate around – and with their patients?

The future emergency care process should be:

tailored to each individual patient, with all health data being owned by the patient
transparent, in order to increase situational awareness, trust and reassurance
embedded into people's healthcare continuum, to make history and recovery phase more relevant
socially connected, to improve communication with other caregivers and involve private contacts of a patient

MED Dialog

A platform, which links paramedics, emergency nurses
and doctors to unify their communication around – and with their patients.
The communication system consists of three elements:

1. Care Coordination app

Care coordination app for keeping the overview and receiving real-time pre-announcements from the ambulance. It is designed to enable direct communication, and helping care givers to be prepared and informed for assessing a patient.

2. Digital handover board

Digital handover board which visually supports team briefings to better cooperate and log data effortlessly, reducing time for administrative efforts to allow focus on patient care.

3. Patient mode vs. Expert mode

Nurses can switch between the MED mode & Dialog mode, which are designed to support them in both expert teamwork and patient conversations. It contains patients’ medical profile, ED-progress data and contact information of the GP and family.

Research & Design process

User research & co-creation in the hospital

Throughout user research, co-creative ideation and iterative prototyping, the project was carried out in close collaboration with the expert users at the emergency department and the ambulance service.

In various methods their tacit and latent knowledge was analysed, as well as their perception of future changes. People’s underlying goals and motivations were used to compare the current workflow with the ideal experience.

Wireframing & Prototyping

Iterative UX prototypes of initial ideas were built and tested with expert users. Thereby the information architecture of the applications got refined. First through paper mock-ups and later through digital click-dummies.