Ambulance healthcare Halland

During this project, we worked with the ambulance care in Halland to create a basis for the future development of an application that combines current channels for information distribution and information support such as treatment guidelines for nurses in the field. The concept developed during this project focuses on the distribution of information concerning the nurses fieldwork.

This is a Design Studio project. These projects are carried out in design teams for real clients through class at The univeristy of Halmstad.

landingpicture case

Client

Ambulance healthcare Halland

Time range

5 weeks

Design team

6 people

Assignment description

The brief expresses the nurses' needs for decision-support documents, treatment guidelines, and information support for nurses during their fieldwork. The focus for this project was on creating a fundamental study for the future development of an application but as this was a design studio project we had requirements in creating a concept and a prototype. From the research and collected data, we found that the organization already had an application for information support during nurses' fieldwork so we narrowed the project down to the problem of distribution of information within the organization.

Problem identification

To start the project, the design team needed a more profound knowledge of how ambulance healthcare worked and how information was distributed. The problem identification phase contains the following:

  • Understanding
  • Research
  • Define

Understanding

At the beginning of the project, we wanted to learn more about the ambulance healthcare system in Sweden. Each region in Sweden has its system of healthcare that's separated from the others. As the ambulance care in Halland was our client we focused on the organization in Halland. We also wanted to learn more about the information support for nurses' fieldwork, what it consisted of and how they were a part of the work.

Research

A challenge during the research was to find information online about the organization. The desired information was how they worked with information support in the fieldwork and how they took part in different types of information, such as monthly information regarding the stations and more urgent information regarding closed hospitals, etc. We had to take a step back and think about alternative methods to gain knowledge. We ended up doing:

  • Interviews with management
  • Interviews with nurses
  • Observation and service safari

Interviews

The design team chose to do interviews with the board in ASH and with nurses. The purpose of the interviews was to get a better understanding from their perspective of the distribution of information and the availability of information. During the interviews with the nurses it emerged that:

  • the physical pocket manuals are used for information support in the work with pre-hospital care, but also physical documents in binders and digital solutions in the ambulance system. The nurses pointed out that it could be beneficial to have these documents in a digital format. A motivation for this was the update of medicines. There are synonym preparations for different drugs that work the same, but the exchange of names places demands on the staff to remember the different names themselves. To remember the different names, the interviewees say that they write down the synonyms directly in the pocket manuals or on pieces of paper that tend to get misplaced.
  • a problem that was described as the transmission of important information within individual stations and the organization as a whole. There was a need to standardize the distribution of information and structure the information.
  • during the interviews with the board it emerged that they were working on an application for information support such as treatment guidelines, and that this study would figure as a fundamental to the design of the application.

Observation

The purpose of doing an observation was to form a border domain knowledge of how the organization worked. This gave us a really good insight into the organization and how the different systems in the ambulances worked with the treatment guidelines and decisions support fundamental for the nurses' fieldwork.

Define

The scope

The organization described a need for a solution for the distribution of information and the nurses' need for an application containing information support of treatment in the fieldwork. A major challenge was to map an area this big. Therefore we chose to divide the area into two scopes.

picture of scopes

During the research, it came to our attention that the organization already had procured an application for information support of treatment in the fieldwork. A minor challenge was that this application was described as insufficient, this opinion was based on other regions' experiences. We found the application on Appstore and did a walkthrough of it based on heuristics. These were compiled from the gathered empirical data from interviews with the nurses and their need for information support during the fieldwork. The walkthrough showed that the app met the needs of the nurses, but we were curious about why the opinion of the application was what it was. Therefore we contacted nurses in regions that used the application in their daily work and did interviews with them. We found that:

  • the application didn't work in areas with bad reception, which is required due to the need for information while treating patients in the field.
  • the application had small differences depending on which region it was used in.

This was a matter that we presented to the people working with the application for the clients. As the tailored application for the clients were developed during this project, we focused on the second scope: distribution of information.

picture of chosen scope

To further examine the nurses' views on the distribution of information at the individual stations and the organizations as a whole we used methods such as:

  • Survey - that was spread through mail concerning the weekly information for the station
  • Interviews - with nurses at the stations in Halland

The data showed that:

  • The distribution of information was different from each station and didn't work in the sense that there were different channels for distribution of information within each station and within the organization as a whole.
  • There was a need to structure and standardize the distribution of information and to make sure that everyone had access to the information.

Iterative design

When the design team had the required knowledge, we conducted iterative design, this part of the project contains the following:

  • Ideate
  • Prototyping
  • Evaluation

Ideate

Sketching

We started with sketching different functions that could be included in the application to generate and communicate possible solutions to these problems. We then took a step back and created a list of requirements for the interface and a list of possible challenges while prototyping. The main functions that needed to be implemented were:

  • a place for newsletters to be stored
  • a clear menu
  • some function to clarify urgent and important news

Once we knew what to include in the sketches, we created joint sketches for the interface.

images sketches

Prototyping

Low-fiedlity prototype

Wireframing was done in Figma with the possibility to make an interactive lo-fi prototype. These wireframes were iterated and resulted in mixed-fidelity wireframes that were put together and used as a prototype used for usability testing, aimed to test information structure.

image of content wireframing low fidelity wireframes

Evaluation

The evaluation focused on testing how the structure of the application was experienced by the nurses, and how visual elements such as the menu worked for them on their work phones. This is with the help of usability testing. The evaluation took place at the station with five nurses. The evaluation showed that:

  • the need for an indication if a newsletter was read or not
  • the menu was appreciated
  • the function for urgent news was clear and needed

High-fidelity prototype

For the creation of a high-fidelity prototype, we decided to program it. The choice to make the prototype with react native was based on the fact that it's cross-platform. It was also of importance that we worked with react native in earlier courses during the education.

Prototype case

Conceptualization

The concept became an application for the distribution of information, that would be possible to build upon the application for information support with the nurses' fieldwork.

The focus of this project was to create a ground for the future development of an application that combines current channels for information distribution and information support such as treatment guidelines for nurses in the fieldwork. But as this project was a part of a course, the design team had to narrow the project down. In agreement with the client, we focused the project on an application for the distribution of information. The project and the research showed that there is a need for an application for the client and that it would be beneficial if the application could meet all the needs that arose during the project. But it's important to pinpoint that the application must work for the nurses' fieldwork, there is no place for an application that can't handle the pressure of pre-hospital work in different situations and environments.

Takeaways

Iteration

The iterative nature of the design process became clear, as to how the different phases of the design process can iterate each other. It's important to reflect and be critical of the design decisions and open to iterating them.

The thing described is not always the thing described

During this project, it became clear how the issue described in the brief is not always the actual issue. By having the courage to be critical towards the brief and your design process and by taking a step back and looking at the design situation from a holistic perspective you may identify another reason behind the described issue.

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