Smar+ER Care
reinventing the ER waiting experience

October 19, 2018

Emergency Rooms are stressful environments. Our design group saw an opportunity to provide a transparent, convenient ER waiting experience for patients to give them peace of mind and reduced anxiety while waiting in the ER. As part of a six-week intensive human-centered design course lead by frog, we were tasked with solving a problem around the idea of traffic. We chose to tackle ER waiting rooms. Here's a video demo of our new ER experience:

To better understand the stresses surrounding ER visits, we journey mapped the ER experience for entering patients in order to identify pain points. Through this process we identified a few issues that needed to be addressed..

  1. wait time transparency - patients don't know how long they are waiting for
  2. too much passing of information - repetitive and prone to error
  3. inefficiency with seeing patients - patients bounce between waiting room and nurses before being diagnosed

Our approach to solving these issues was two fold. First, we needed to redesign the current layout (above) of the Emergency room to alleviate flow inneficiencies. The schematic shown above is of the current Mount Sinai Emergency Room; patients enter at the bottom right corner, waiting room is towards the center, triage is in the room towards the top, and the ED is beyond the hallway next to triage. The rendering (below) showcases the design we created that has biometric scanning station (rop right corner) upon entrance, and three vitals stations (top center) to provide immediate feedback on patient well-being. A patient's physical assessment, reason for visiting, and vitals all factor into their wait time, which will be tabulated automatically.

Second, we needed to develop an app that helps facilitate a more efficient and transparent check-in process. We created a semi-functional app prototype for useful user feedback (below). This feedback, ultimately, helped shape the final design of our app.

As a final test, I took it upon myself to test the product and concept design at the ER at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. My brother, being a current resident in the ER at HUP, allowed me to shadow at the ER and gauge interest from the staff. They responded very favorably to the app and room layout design.

Based on conversations with the triage nurses, there were a few design changes that we could consider in future iterations..

  1. more visual aids in the app - 50% of patients entering are illiterate
  2. more vitals stations due to larger amount of expected patients
  3. consider type of biometric scanning - face recognition instead finger print
  4. patients in critical need of care should be able to bypass entire check-in process