2012 Galleries

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Galleries // 2012 Spark:Product // Nurture Pocket

Nurture Pocket

Winner - Platinum

Competition: Spark:Product
Designer: Nurture and Modo Design Teams
Design Type: Medical

Nurture was seeking a solution that would help patients and caregivers do the one thing that could help the most: connect. People use technology differently in healthcare. Older patients distrust technology and younger ones embrace it. Nurses see it as an obstacle. Understanding this, we conducted research to see how technology affects patients, how nurses use it and how work flow can be simplified to improve care. We started with a complete reset on scope and direction. Our design team encouraged Nurture to move away from software-intensive, medication management carts to a full product family based on a single powerful idea: user driven design. We started with a two day Jam Session to get aligned on design goals. We conducted a series of exercises that involved attribute sorting, role playing, test driving, metaphor hunts and process visualization. We built a visual profile of the market by creating a monumental image board on a twenty foot long wall. We profiled target users, mapped competitors, documented similar products in adjacent markets and linked images with colored yarns to identify unexpected patterns and relationships. Our visuals made a difference. From there, we conducted ethnographic research at eight hospitals in different markets. We interviewed doctors, nurses and bio-techs. We scrubbed up to observe surgery. We took hundreds of photos. We worked through the night to document how work patterns change on each shift. This experience reminded us that noise is more important at night. The research showed wide variability in the way care is delivered from one hospital to the next. We moved past single point solutions to direct our efforts toward user defined designs. We wanted to give nurses the freedom to make every cart a personal space. Space and clothing are signifiers. They signal what you can expect from an experience or a person. Visualize a doctor in dirty overalls. In hospitals, furniture signifies the quality of the care to be delivered. We helped align the design team around the emotional impact of mobile furniture. Carts need to reassure patients and families. To do this, they need to be appropriate, intentional and quiet in motion. The resulting design speaks for itself. Pocket is easy to use. It gives nurses the “third hand” they need to listen to a heartbeat, provide a reassuring touch or take a blood pressure. It gives nurses control of their workflow. Each nurse configures the cart and chooses the accessories that best suit his or her needs. We designed magnetic cubbies that can be positioned anywhere on the cart to accommodate changing systems and work demands. Pocket’s minimal surface detailing cut cleaning times from 20 minutes to 8 minutes. With 200 carts and a daily cleaning routine in large hospitals, these time savings equal the salary of a full time nurse. This minimalism in the design also allows a biomedical engineer to take Pocket apart and reconfigure it for a new use and user in minutes. The Pocket design easily adapts to change. It is also a smooth and responsive work platform. We used as little of everything that we could. Pocket weighs 22 lbs. and 97% of it can be recycled. Five parts go together with one tool in less than seven minutes. We used a unique, bottom–up caster mount to reduce cost and eliminate chatter. The sealed bearing design simplifies cleaning, eliminates jamming and is quiet enough for nearby patients to get some rest. Pocket closes the gap between work tools, technology and most of all patients. When this happens, caregivers are less prone to injury and can provide better care.