Role in team
I was an equal part of the research and idea generation phase, documenting user interviews and analysing the information collected. I played an integral part in storytelling and video prototyping for the project. I worked along side our product designers drawing out the wireframes for the screen interface. I led the scripting, filming and editing of the videos and scenarios.
Today and Tomorrow
Design and develop a system and interface proposal that reduces the attention required for anaesthesiologists to run and supervise the system so that more focus can be directed towards the patient and communication with colleagues.
One challenge the Anaesthesia nurse encounters today is the drug injection process on the patient: Depending on the patient's reactions to various variables, including patient's reactions to sleep-inducing drugs and surgery on inner organs, the Anaesthesia nurse must counteract them in order to keep the patient stable and unconscious. Yet, sometimes it is quite difficult to estimate the right amount of for the counteraction, and thus potentially harming the patient through injecting the wrong drug dose.
The Sandbox concept allows the nurse to learn and explore different alternative parameters of the Anaesthesia drugs and their effects on the patient before executing scaled changes. When the nurse adjusts the parameters, the patient’s values will be displayed as they are getting affected. In this way the nurse can have a safe learning environment to explore and fail in the system, without harming the patient. This allows the Anaesthesia nurse to use the autopilot phase more efficiently, by for example preparing the landing phase in advance.
Understanding the Anaesthesia nurse's workflow
During the project we visited two hospitals where we attended six different surgeries. It was valuable to experience surgeries as it gave us the opportunity to observe the Anaesthesia nurses and their workflow, in the right context. We also used ethnographic methodologies when interviewing nurses, helping us understand their thoughts and feelings about their daily routines.
With our knowledge from research, interviews and hospital visits we structured and grouped our findings in order to search for patterns, problem areas and possibilities to get a starting point from where we could turn our insights into tangible ideas. Together with our collaboration partner, colleagues, and tutors, we hosted and participated in a wide range of activities revolving around our research findings. The purpose of this engagement was to speculate and imagine scenarios of how the operation theatre of the future might look like.
Design sprint & concept development
During our design sprint, we focused on specific keywords that were abstracted from the research workshop, for example empathy and human touch. We were interested in skilling up the nurse’s human sensory apparatus as it might offer a different way of learning on how to monitor the Anaesthesia that is induced to the patient. Technology is not what makes good patient care, rather it is empathy and the confidence of one’s human abilities.
User testing with Anaesthesia providers
Playing out various surgery scenarios with an Anaesthesia nurse helped us to understand the user's emotional level in surgery. We learned that the process of dehumanising patients into their body parts is a necessity for medical caregivers to regulate negative emotional responses. This is especially important in situations when they feel the pressure to deliver highly efficient and effective care.
In workshops with an associate professor, we role played together possible scenarios of how the operation theatre of the future might look like, and also explored on how nurses would interact and use our prototypes in different situations. We learned a better understanding of what empathy and human touch means in association with the nurse’s daily work routine. The human touch concept proved in this user testing to be difficult to implement with the human-centered-design approach, as there are practical reasons for the lack of human touch.
The way we have set up our design approach so far, opposes the current march of technology, although these rapid widespread technological advancements happening around the world are inevitable. Instead of saying, we are working against technology, or, we are working for technology, we decided to take the perspective on we are working with technology. At the moment, machines are, for example, doing well in fast processing over big data. On the other hand, the humans situational awareness, for example, is greater compared to machines. Combining both human and machines cognitive abilities may bring an effective human-machine work in tandem. We see potential in such human-machine teamwork in the Anaesthesia nurses work environment in 2032.
Prototyping the Sandbox
To visualise our ideas of the final concept we created simple prototype variations with cardboard and paper, to facilitate testing different interactions, sizes and colours.
Visual identity of the Sandbox interface
For a more clear link between the readings on the existing master screen and our final concept, we adopted the master screen's visual identity on our concept as well, with the intention to ensure a comparison between the simulated (our concept) and live patient data (master screen).
We tested the product with both nurses and other students at the university. Some of the results indicated that color contrasts among the values made it easier to read the interface. In addition, subjects mentioned the importance of understanding the disposition of the values displayed on the device and how to read the span of target values, current value and how the value is affected while adjusting the parameters.
Critical actions have been designed as modes.
We video prototyped a specific user scenario within a self-built hospital environmental setting. Furthermore, we decided to show the final interface product via screen replacement effects. Thus, this required from the team to do track motion on a rounded shape object as well as masking moving bodies in Adobe After Affects – one of the most technical challenging tasks in this project. Since the green screen replacement did not work well in the post-production, we decided to re-shoot again – but this time in a real hospital.