The relationship forged between doctors and patients represents one of the most unique and intimate types existing today. Every time we visit the hospital, we place our lives into the hands of our doctor, trusting him or her as an expert and hoping for the best.
What many of us don’t know is that, on average, 4 out of 10 drugs are wrongly administered at hospitals. Furthermore, medication errors harm an estimated 1.5 million Americans per year, and 210,000 deaths occurred in 2013 due to preventable errors.
Facing the problem of ineffective medication distribution in hospitals throughout the world, our UX Design Services Team at SAP saw an opportunity. In the SAP Design and Co-Innovation Center (DCC), we embarked on this design thinking project to raise awareness for this integral issue, inspire change, and re-envision the hospital experience for patients, doctors, and nurses of the future.
To tackle this problem, we first conducted extensive literature research, gathering as much information as we could find online and on paper about various medical errors and their root causes.
Next, we stepped into the field and asked, “what does it truly mean to be a doctor or nurse that distributes medication to patients?“ To connect with our users as “human-centered designers,” we interviewed countless nurses and doctors, paying close attention to their daily tasks, needs, and pain points. Through our empathy research, we reached a much deeper understanding of the experience of medication distribution, from the eyes of a nurse and doctor.
Finally, to explore how advanced technology might be integrated into healthcare services to achieve better results, we took a closer look at Google Glass. Through hands-on usage and direct interaction, we discovered the engineering of Google Glass, the Human-Computer Interaction with the device, and how to both build and deploy an application for the technology. We also discovered that Google Glass could be uniquely paired with SAP’s HANA technology, which provides a means of organizing and analyzing patient big data.
As we wrapped up our design process, we discovered great potential implications for the future of healthcare. We envision doctors and nurses seeking feedback and experts’ opinions on healthcare issues remotely and hands-free, fostering efficient and seamless conversations around patient care in real time. Using the Google Glass + HANA technologies also eases the process of documenting doctor-patient interactions and updating the Electronic Medical Record, thereby keeping patient information securely recorded throughout the day.
Ultimately, by keeping patient information carefully organized, easily accessible, and simple on the doctors’ and nurses’ end, we can provide the type of care and support for patients that they deserve. The next time we, as patients, receive our medication, we can trust that our doctor or nurse is giving us exactly what we need to get well soon.
And maybe, a few years down the road, the experiences of dispensing and receiving medication will look something like this: