The framework for REVIEWS: an exploration into design principles for an electronic medical early warning system observation chart

Thumbnail Image
Creedon, Frederick
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University College Cork
Published Version
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
The observation chart is for many health professionals (HPs) the primary source of objective information relating to the health of a patient. Information Systems (IS) research has demonstrated the positive impact of good interface design on decision making and it is logical that good observation chart design can positively impact healthcare decision making. Despite the potential for good observation chart design, there is a paucity of observation chart design literature, with the primary source of literature leveraging Human Computer Interaction (HCI) literature to design better charts. While this approach has been successful, this design approach introduces a gap between understanding of the tasks performed by HPs when using charts and the design features implemented in the chart. Good IS allow for the collection and manipulation of data so that it can be presented in a timely manner that support specific tasks. Good interface design should therefore consider the specific tasks being performed prior to designing the interface. This research adopts a Design Science Research (DSR) approach to formalise a framework of design principles that incorporates knowledge of the tasks performed by HPs when using observation charts and knowledge pertaining to visual representations of data and semiology of graphics. This research is presented in three phases, the initial two phases seek to discover and formalise design knowledge embedded in two situated observation charts: the paper-based NEWS chart developed by the Health Service Executive in Ireland and the electronically generated eNEWS chart developed by the Health Information Systems Research Centre in University College Cork. A comparative evaluation of each chart is also presented in the respective phases. Throughout each of these phases, tentative versions of a design framework for electronic vital sign observation charts are presented, with each subsequent iteration of the framework (versions Alpha, Beta, V0.1 and V1.0) representing a refinement of the design knowledge. The design framework will be named the framework for the Retrospective Evaluation of Vital Sign Information from Early Warning Systems (REVIEWS). Phase 3 of the research presents the deductive process for designing and implementing V0.1 of the framework, with evaluation of the instantiation allowing for the final iteration V1.0 of the framework. This study makes a number of contributions to academic research. First the research demonstrates that the cognitive tasks performed by nurses during clinical reasoning can be supported through good observation chart design. Secondly the research establishes the utility of electronic vital sign observation charts in terms of supporting the cognitive tasks performed by nurses during clinical reasoning. Third the framework for REVIEWS represents a comprehensive set of design principles which if applied to chart design will improve the usefulness of the chart in terms of supporting clinical reasoning. Fourth the electronic observation chart that emerges from this research is demonstrated to be significantly more useful than previously designed charts and represents a significant contribution to practice. Finally the research presents a research design that employs a combination of inductive and deductive design activities to iterate on the design of situated artefacts.
Health Information Systems , Design science , Observation charts
Creedon, F. 2016. The framework for REVIEWS: an exploration into design principles for an electronic medical early warning system observation chart. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
Link to publisher’s version