Laptops on trolleys: Lessons from a mobile-wireless hospital ward
Most hospital-based staff can be considered to be mobile but many hospital information systems (HIS) are based on fixed desk top computers. Wireless networks allow HIS to be brought to the point of care using mobile devices such as laptops on trolleys thus providing data which can aid in clinical decision-making. The research objective of this project focusses on the collaborative design of a laptop solution for providing data at the point of care. The research approach was based on a combination of action research and design science. Action research techniques including participant observation and informal oneto- one discussions were used to obtain information that was used to evolve the trolley design as a design artefact while addressing usability limitations. This paper presents three versions of the trolley design and how they evolved based on the feedback provided to the researchers from clinical use. Also these results show that using iterative action research techniques (planning, action, evaluation and reflection) in collaborative research can provide productive outcomes addressing a specific design objective within an acute care setting.