Clinician-Driven Design of VitalPAD – Intelligent Monitoring & Communication Device to Improve Patient Safety in the Intensive Care Unit
The pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) is a complex environment, in which a multidisciplinary team of clinicians (registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and physicians) continually observe and evaluate patient information. Data are provided by multiple, and often physically separated sources, cognitive workload is high, and team communication can be challenging. Our aim is to combine information from multiple monitoring and therapeutic devices in a mobile application, the VitalPAD, to improve the efficiency of clinical decision-making, communication, and thereby patient safety. We observed individual ICU clinicians, multidisciplinary rounds, and handover procedures for 54 h to identify data needs, workflow, and existing cognitive aid use and limitations. A prototype was developed using an iterative participatory design approach; usability testing, including general and task-specific feedback, was obtained from 15 clinicians. Features included map overviews of the ICU showing clinician assignment, patient status, and respiratory support; patient vital signs; a photo-documentation option for arterial blood gas results; and team communication and reminder functions. Clinicians reported the prototype to be an intuitive display of vital parameters and relevant alerts and reminders, as well as a user-friendly communication tool. Future work includes implementation of a prototype, which will be evaluated under simulation and real-world conditions, with the aim of providing ICU staff with a monitoring device that will improve their daily work, communication, and decision-making capacity. Mobile monitoring of vital signs and therapy parameters might help improve patient safety in wards with single-patient rooms and likely has applications in many acute and critical care settings.