What to include:
- When look back critically evaluating my work
- My design
- Response – harness technologies
- Process user centered design
- How did that go? Or in hindsight I should have
- Actually, I pursued something quite generic, I turned the corner and decided to pursue…
- What are you trying to do
An empty urgent care waiting room, with no wait time. Unheard of. For many it certainly is, and at first glance people can usually decipher the status of the room—is the room filled to the brim or relatively calm? Then comes the common question, “how long will I wait?”.
In New Zealand there is approximately 2.5 million urgent care patient consultations per year and for many patients, the assessment area and waiting room is where the patient journey starts.
This project is aimed at patients that attend urgent care clinics – the third ill-defined space. Not the passive appointment-led general practitioners doctor office where you might wait for 20 minutes. But neither the intense high-stress environment of the emergency department where ambulances fly to and from. It’s the space between. Urgent care clinics provide non-appointment care and are generally open seven days a week, from 8am until at least 8pm and many offer after-hours care.
Upon arrival at an urgent care clinic patients are put into triage, a process that is critical to the effective management of modern emergency departments. Triaging aims to ensure that those patients assessed as having the most urgent need, are treated more quickly than those patients with a less urgent need.
In New Zealand urgent care, triage has five categories, each with a specified maximum appropriate time within which medical assessment and treatment should commence. However, because of fluctuations in patient numbers, the seriousness of their conditions, and other pressures on resources, these times cannot always be met meaning patients often have a long time to wait. The waiting room has come to represent a containment space of unavoidable frustration for patients and doctors alike. “Waiting is frustrating, demoralising, agonising, aggravating, annoying, time consuming and incredibly expensive.”
A range of studies show that patients complain because of lack of information and poor understanding of the triage process. Many experience the process as biased and unfair. Human-centred design can be used to facilitate reassurance in the urgent care waiting room by creating transparency in communication between staff and patients. By making information accessible such as their estimated wait time and how the urgent care process of triage works, patients would be able to understand the experience and feel more at ease whilst waiting.
Often health care providers lack the transparency of information and personal connection needed between nurses and patients which creates a feeling of uncertainty among patients.
From my research, it is clear that the majority of participants in the survey who have attended an urgent care clinic felt the most uncertain about the length of wait and how long they could be waiting than any other factor. This confirms the hypothesis that the most profound source of anxiety in waiting is how long the wait will be.
Human-centred design can be used to create transparency and reassurance within an urgent care clinic waiting room to enable patients to understand the triage system and feel more at ease whilst waiting.
In my research, it was clear that patients often just need reassurance.
In my research, I found that the majority of participants in the survey chose blue to be the most calming colour. This confirms my secondary research that blue is the most calming. Some say this is because it reminds them of nature, the sky and the sea. Blue evokes feelings of calmness and serenity. It is often described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly. Blue can project an image of security, it is favoured by many people and is often viewed as a non-threatening colour that can seem conservative and traditional, giving patients the security and willingness to trust. These findings informed the basis of my colour palette for my visual solution.
After talking to some Emergency Department nurses from Waikato Hospital I came to realise that each clinic uses different ways to communicate with their patients. Some already have platforms for letting patients know about wait time but the systems were clunky and hard to understand.
Through human-centered design, Notify facilitates reassurance in the urgent care waiting room by creating transparency in communication between staff and patients. The system empathises with the user’s worry and resolves their uncertainty by making information accessible such as their estimated wait time and how the urgent care process of triage works.
- Talk about why I chose mobile interface as primary: in my research I found 80% of people would rather use a personal device rather than a device available to everyone. But talk about how it’s also on an iPad kiosk to cater to the needs of people that don’t have a mobile device on them.
- Why I ended up choosing numbers for the card rather than avatar etc. stable and strong system which implies you’ve been counted for. Avatars can become subjective and can make room for misjudgement and confusion.
- Why I chose to do a progressive web app rather than app or website, research showed people wouldn’t download an app (or would feel the need to delete it after the experience)
- Introducing Notify. A system of digital implementations working together to facilitate reassurance through transparency in communication for both staff and patients. Digital or technology or both
- Messaging feature – I had done how staff communicate to patients but this is about transparency in communication with both so messaging provides a platform for patients to reach out and notify staff.
- A development in the app would integrate methods for distraction so that patients perceptions of wait time could be manipulated that but I decided this was outside of my scope focusing on communication for this project.