If you’ve ever had a close relative, friend or colleague admitted to the hospital, undergoing a scheduled surgery, and had to worry every minute about their situation, you’re probably wondering why an app that let’s you know their status doesn’t exist (at least, not to my knowledge).
Well, you wouldn’t be the only one. In this short article, I am presenting a prototype of an app I designed after briefly interviewing 4 nurses and addressing the main constraint, while trying to provide a solution.
The main constraint with most apps in the healthcare world is the need to ensure absolute confidentiality and safety when it comes to the patient’s data.
From the DOB (Date of Birth), to the PHN (Personal Health Number) to complete address and phone numbers of relatives, there are many sensitive bits of data associated with each patient’s profile.
It is therefore easy to understand why hospitals and clinics have a reservation when it comes to developing apps that, although might make the patient’s life a bit easier, it could expose the institution to serious liability, without a significant ROI (Return on Investment).
One work-around this particular constraint is to have the patient himself/herself enter manually their information or scan the ID wristband.
By doing this, the patient provides consent to all their data being stored, temporarily, on the hospital’s app (a different screen would prompt the user to read the terms and conditions and agree).
Since they will not need the smartphone with them in the surgery room, they would at this point hand the device to their close friend / relative, and in doing so, they automatically provide consent to that person having access to their data.
These two steps would, in theory, cover the liability constraint.
Now that the data collection is completed, and consent given in the process of it, the patient would go into surgery knowing that their loved ones can monitor the process at any given time.
The app would have 4 main sections, detailing the Journey of the patient, general info about the Hospital, personal data of the Patient, and a History of the past procedures (if the patient chooses to save that).
The main screen would be a timeline displaying the milestones in the patient’s journey since being admitted. The status bubble corresponding to that point in time would be in open mode (having a brief description of the process), with the previous ones closed. However, by clicking on the information icon, the user could open any other status bubbles, to review the information contained within.
In the above example, the patient was admitted at 11:52am, but didn’t go into surgery will 2:05pm, with two other stops in between (12:46pm, 1:37pm).
The information for each step would be collected by scanning the ID wristband at different units (similar to how a package is easily tracked while in transit, simply because of its barcode being scanned).
Disclaimer: This is a rough sketch meant to highlight an idea and the work is by no means final. Many improvements could be made and suggestions are always welcomed. This app is meant to be a conversation-starter around this particular issue.