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Project: To design an innovative strategy to improve the shift-to-shift nurse handoffs at Vancouver Coastal Health.

Timeline: Spring 2012, 3 Months

Abstract: Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) approached our third-year communication  design class at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and asked us to design an innovative strategy to improve the shift-to-shift nurse handoffs in its hospitals. Such handoffs refer to situations where information about current patients is passed from one set of formal caregivers to another. Unfortunately, during these situations key information is sometimes lost or forgotten, which can result in an increased risk to the patient’s health.

We proposed that a mobile technological platform (such as an iPad) be introduced into the nurses’ care system to improve communication, reduce error in the handoff process, and enhance overall patient care. Through extensive secondary research, we examined the process of nurse-to-nurse hand-offs currently in place and how to improve them, as well as ways that iPads are being used in various health care institutions. We also conducted primary research through personal interviews with two nurses, observing an actual shift-to-shift nurse handoff at Vancouver General Hospital, and conducting two co-creation sessions with nurses from VCH. After several iterations, a concept was developed for an iPad interactive health care app that is called Your Patient Circles. This app puts patient care at the forefront and ensures that important information about patients is more consistently shared between shift staff, thus improving patient health care overall.

This design was created in collaboration with Bree Galbraith and Craig Fleisch. The following video promotes our concept and explains how it works.