Digital Surgery Tracker

Surgical staff traditionally track patients as they move through the surgical process on a large, centrally located whiteboard.  Although whiteboards are low-tech, they provide the advantage of being easy-to-use and understand, and can never go down and lock the user out of their information (unless a staff member erases something!).

Over the years most departments have begun to move to "digital whiteboards" for tracking surgical patients.  Some of these programs can be edited by working directly off of a large touch screen that take the place of a whiteboard, but most are programs which allow for manual and automated tracking of patients as they are checked into different departments. One or two central clerks usually maintain this information, with a tracking dashboard showing in several different locations on large monitors. 

Digital whiteboards, or digital surgical patient trackers, have the advantage of allowing surgeons and anesthetists to check on the progress operating rooms remotely, so they can plan when to get ready for their cases more efficiently (instead of calling surgical departments).  They also allow departments downstream in patient receiving to anticipate patient volume in real-time.

In this project, I collaborated with a team of analysts and consultants and lead the evaluation of a digital surgical tracker being used at several major hospitals across the United States.  I identified weaknesses in the current product through usability testing, observations, and stakeholder interviews.  Then I redesigned the product through a series of iterative collaborative designs and rapid usability testing with paper prototypes.  Finally, I worked with a development team to generate functional stories based on personas and scenarios for the development process.  

The end result was a greatly improved surgical tracker which allowed display customization by department, remote access of patient status by surgical staff, and provided a waiting-room-facing component which allowed family members to track their loved-one's progress and decrease concerned phone calls to surgery.