Based on our user research results we designed a device called “personal information manager” (PIM) providing several features which ease up the daily work of medical staff, and supports patients information status. It comes in form of a watch with a simple screen and few buttons. PIM is designed for the use in hospitals and for patients at home.
PIM provides the following functions:
It can measure pulse and blood pressure. In addition to that PIM provides a socket for plugging in other measuring devices like a blood analyzer. The results are automatically sent to the respective medical institution. If necessary, the patient can then easily be contacted for further examination.
PIM informs patients about upcoming events, such as the doctor’s arrival or a physio-therapeutic session and reminds them of the medication they are supposed to take. Pressing the “OK” button sends a confirmation signal.
If help is needed, a patient wearing PIM only has to press the emergency buttons – PIM informs paramedics of his location and current vital signs.
PIM is able to read the displayed information aloud. So even patients with poor reading skills or bad sight are able to get all the information needed.
Authorized medical personnel can add, edit and delete the data concerning each patient via a web interface or their proper administration software.
One of the main benefits of PIM is that doctors and nurses save their important time which they would spend on routine check-ups.
Patients on the other hand get more information depending on their location and regarding their current state. Also PIM makes it possible to go home earlier because routine examinations are done by PIM.
PIM can be transferred to other fields of medical institutions like old peoples homes.
Also PIM could be a part of a whole system for medical use. Including tablets, PIM, a central server and multiple hospitals. This would make it possible for the medical staff to have all important information everywhere at every time.
Our research showed us that the lack of time and high stress level are a huge problem in hospitals and other medical institutions. Thus, we decided to develop a tool which would make it unnecessary for nurses to perform standard tasks such as measuring the blood pressure or pulse and making notes both on paper and on the computer. At the same time, patients often don’t know what is going on and what will happen next.
We came up with a watch for the patient that, first of all, provides functionality for either measuring values directly (e.g. for blood sugar) or by plugging in additional devices and then automatically transferring them. It also includes a notification system informing the patient about his or her next appointment and when to take which medication.
As this doesn’t require the patient to be in stationary care, our system enables patients to return home as early as possible (in case they want to, of course) while remaining under medical observation. Thanks to an emergency button, help can still be guaranteed. This also means doctors and nurses get to have more time for those who really need their attention.
We picked medical because it seems an important field of study. Due to the increasing complexity of medical tools we expected to find lots of possibilities for improvement. For our research we picked several interview partners from different domains: a nurse and a Coordinator working in clinical studies of new medicines and stents at a hospital, a programmer developing tools for the physiotherapy of children recovering from heart surgery and a surgeon who has worked in several hospitals and as emergency medic.
They provided us with lots of input over a wide range of topics. One key aspect we found was the lack of data availability due to incompatibility of data formats and software. While this is time-consuming and unnecessary, it can become critical in situations where speed is mandatory, like in the emergency department. Improving the workflow would help reduce the stress level of the medical staff which in could lead to better performance and lower rate of errors.