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dmi:Design Value Award Winner - Philips
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dmi:Design Value Award Winner




Patient Flow Capacity Suite for COVID-19

Philips - Philips Experience Design, R&D, Connected Care Informatics


Throughout the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed hospitals with critically ill patients. These facilities face enormous challenges in resource availability and allocation. Without the ability to quickly identify and triage those COVID-19 patients most in need (taking comorbidities into account), hospitals are experiencing a spike in mortality rates.

Improving communication between hospitals to manage and share their capacities and resources would benefit patients tested for COVID-19, clinicians, and health systems alike. Philips, a global health technology company and a leader in patient monitoring and health informatics, set out to develop a cloud-based, online, collaborative platform to enable hospitals to do just that.

The major challenge was to respond quickly to the crisis by developing a feasible, viable, and desirable solution to support hospitals in pandemic management, while improving clinical outcomes and reducing mortality. Specialists from five teams within Philips (Design, Technology, Development, Product, and Clinical) worked to achieve the solution within eight weeks. The goal was to design a dashboard that displays patients, their comorbidities, and the resources available to treat them, enabling optimal allocation.

The design team initiated clinical workshops with specialists at more than ten hospitals across Brazil, connecting user needs to healthcare processes in order to design a seamless solution. They produced prototypes and worked with the development team to build screens in Tasy, Philips’ platform for electronic medical records. The project was validated at every step with a mixed clinical team of Philips and hospital experts to ensure it was delivering a valuable and meaningful solution.

The resulting Patient Flow Capacity Suite (PFCS) dashboard provides hospitals an overview of patients with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. It also cross-references patients with their comorbidities, a feature that allows hospitals to identify at-risk patients who are more likely to suffer severe outcomes. Additionally, hospital staff can manage resources using the dashboard, including bed capacity and equipment availability.

With this solution, hospitals have a combination of clinical and administrative data at their fingertips that achieves new levels of resource and patient management. In addition, the user interface designs have been adapted to different environments using dark and light versions, thereby improving user satisfaction.

Providing a fast solution for supporting customers during the COVID-19 pandemic was the main driver for the project. The PFCS solution enables the supported hospitals in Brazil to make collaborative, operational decisions across clinical pathways. The development process involved approximately 100 users, including physicians, nurses, and technicians. The design has effected institutional change by creating a scalable solution that connects workflows for multiple stakeholders and differing customer needs, while respecting system architectures and clinical pathways. An accessible user interface, designed to accommodate users with disabilities, raised the overall quality of the project. Because the crisis is ongoing, the financial impacts of the project are not yet available.

In addressing the significant and time sensitive challenges of COVID-19 management, the project proves the power of a systemic design strategy to deliver real value to users, stakeholders, and patients quickly in a time of crisis.

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