Systems used to continuously monitor children’s heart rate, breathing rate, and oxygen levels in hospital and home settings and generated alarms intended to warn caregivers— nurses in the hospital and parents at home— of conditions that warrant their immediate attention. However, these systems suffered from high rates of false alarms, which caused unnecessary sleep disruption, task interruptions, and alarm fatigue that “teaches” caregivers to ignore or respond slowly to future alarms. In response to this problem, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, embarked on a multiphase Patient Safety Learning Lab (PSLL) project to re-engineer these systems.
The CHOP team brought in faculty and students from the University of Pennsylvania’s Integrated Product Design Master’s program (IPD) for the Design phase of the project to explore new methods of synthesizing primary data that the team collected during the analysis phase and to spark a more diverse range of ideas for how to improve monitoring systems. The goal is to integrate design research and strategies into clinical projects to identify novel ways of solving problems in clinical care.