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Seattle Children’s Hospital Patient Information System

While good design of medical information systems has tremendous impact on the safety and efficiency of care, it’s often made a secondary priority. Recognizing the importance of design, Seattle Children’s Hospital partnered with Artefact to create a vision for an interactive system intended to work across multiple roles, from the student doctor to the hospital administrator.

The concept solution united multiple sources to tell the patient story, helped prioritize work, and provided status cues tailored to the user’s role. The people-centric solution augmented vital human connections rather than replace personal communication with technology.

"What most impressed me about the app was that it didn’t resemble the clunky, boxy, database-looking apps I’d seen in the past at hospitals and doctor clinics. This prototype was intuitive and had a clean, functional design. What’s more, it appeared to revolve more around the patient than the hospital system."

Richard MacManus, ReadWrite, July 4, 2011

"The prototype patient information system, created for the hospital by Seattle-based technology product design firm Artefact, is designed to work on iPad, mobile devices, and traditional computers. And it’s about as far removed as possible from the applications most of us see when we visit a doctor today."

Todd Bishop GeekWire, July 1, 2011


Patient stories in seconds

A unified view of patient data describes the whole person. This view of a patient’s past, present, and future helps doctors decide whom to treat first.

Augmented human communication

Because critical decisions are still based on personal communication, the solution does not replace human connections with technology—it augments them.

Adaptable to form and function

A single system is tailored to diverse user roles, levels of authority, devices, and contexts. The same system works for vice presidents and nurses.


Mapping the information flow

In workshops with multiple staff roles, we identified breakdowns in information flow. Targeted interviews with individuals furthered our discoveries.

Contextual observation

We followed patients in the emergency department to understand who was involved and how information followed them, from paper to phone to software, etc.

Information prioritization

We created an overall framework that incorporated ideas from multiple brainstorming sessions; then Children’s staff prioritized them.

Prototype development

An interactive Keynote prototype that worked on PC and iPads with swipe gesturing explained the system through the story of a patient.