Being a patient in the emergency department can be a bewildering experience. Doctors, nurses and technicians drop in at seemingly random times to ask questions, examine you and take samples. You haven't any clue what it all means, what's going to happen, or how much it'll hurt.
A team of Microsoft researchers is exploring ways to use electronic displays to help keep patients in the loop about their own care. They recently developed and evaluated a cut-and-paste prototype for a personalized patient information display inside patient rooms in the emergency department of a Washington, D.C.-area hospital:
We conducted a Wizard-of-Oz study in which we manually compiled information extracted from the patient medical record and constructed posters that mimicked a potential digital display (Figures 1 and 3). We placed these posters in patient rooms and updated them as frequently as appropriate. We interviewed patients and family members, as well as physicians and nurses, to garner feedback about our design.
The researchers write that they received "overwhelmingly positive" feedback on the prototype from the 18 patients and 8 visitors who volunteered for the study.
The team will present their results on April 15 at the CHI 2010 Conference in Atlanta. Theirs is one of several papers and workshops at the conference on the use of technology to manage health care.