Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Everyware" Health Care: A Personal Focus

For the next few weeks, I'll be focusing some on my experiences with technology and health care.

This time, my posts will be on a more personal level. As I write this post, I am sitting in the family waiting area of the cardiac ICU at the Cleveland Clinic. My dad's surgery was Tuesday, and it is now Sunday, so I have had plenty of time on my hands to observe how technology is used to deliver his care, monitor his progress, and support his recovery.

Since I view things from a broader human-computer interaction perspective, I've decided to share some of my thoughts the"Hospital UX" picture, putting myself in the shoes of patients, family members, and medical professionals.

A Clean and Sterile Wait

This is the new lounge where families wait while their loved ones undergo cardiac surgery. The old family waiting area at the Cleveland Clinic had a cozy, home-like feel, with comfortable chairs and cheery art. The new waiting area has a very sterile, minimalist feel. The chairs are NOT comfortable, especially if you are middle-age or older and have the usual aches and pains!

Corridor to Nowhere?

Some of the corridors at the hospital have a surreal, institutional feel.

Hospital Corridor Eye Candy

Other corridors are a bit more...uplifting?

You are.... where?!

It is still quite difficult to figure out where you are and how to get to where you are going.

Note: I'll revisit this post to discuss this further - below are a few interesting links:

Microsoft Health Common User Interface: Patient Journey Demonstrator
via Martin Grason: Adventures of a 'Devigner'

Future Hospitals form Designit 12/30/08
"How can hospitals offer a better service – for patients and visitors? And improve working conditions for staff? Designit has been asked to find the answer by applying explorative, user-driven innovation at the heart of public sector delivery: Odense University Hospital, Denmark's largest hospital."

"The project, which starts in January, aims to deliver groundbreaking service innovation that could serve as a blueprint for future public healthcare improvements – in Denmark and abroad."

Obama's Plan to Digitize Medical Records Draws Criticism from Doctors
Dan Nosowitz, Gizmodo, 3/7/09

Computer Will See You Now
Anne Armstrong-Coben, New York Times, 3/5/09
"Now that I’ve been using a computer to keep patient records — a practice that I once looked forward to — my participation with patients too often consists of keeping them away from the keyboard while I’m working, for fear they’ll push a button that implodes all that I have just documented...Room is provided for text, but in the computer’s font, important points often get lost. I have half-joked with residents that they could type “child has no head” in the middle of a computer record — and it might be missed....The personal relationships we build in primary care must remain a priority, because they are integral to improved health outcomes. Let us not forget this as we put keyboards and screens within the intimate walls of our medical homes.."
Note: Anne Armstrong-Corben is a clinical professor of pediatrics at Columbia.

Obama's Big Idea: Digital health records
David Goldman, CNN Money 1/12/09

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