The Alfred ICU admits more than 2800 patients per annum and provides most of the Victorian State Services and a number of National Services.  So families sometimes travel from afar and may be at the hospital for many weeks, spending considerable amounts of time in the waiting room.

Published literature suggests that high quality communication with families and regular meetings with senior medical staff improve family satisfaction and reduce anxiety.

The application provides the user with practical information, such as accommodation, local dining, and surrounding public transport, all of which are available in maps that can be printed.  This helps to make the user’s time in an unfamiliar environment a little easier.

 This application was designed to:

  • Prepare a patient’s loved one for what to expect in the ICU
  • Provide information about the ICU, its staffing, ICU procedures and therapies
  • Provide practical information, such as accommodation, local dining, and surrounding public transport, all of which are available in maps that can be printed
  • Empower the patient’s loved ones to participate in patient care
  • Provide information 24 hours a day in an easily accessible, user friendly, interactive and innovative way, allowing users to determine what information they read, when they read it, and to revisit the information as many times as needed. 
  • Easily change and update the application in response to feedback from families and clinicians, keeping it current and effective.

To the best of our knowledge, this innovative and interactive communication tool for patients and their families is the first of its kind in Australia.

The initial homepage displays a short introductory video introducing the user to the ICU, explaining, in plain language, what it means to be critically unwell and providing a virtual video tour of the unit and what to expect when entering a cubicle, including some of the noises.

Via real time links to the roster, the user is informed which Intensivist is caring for their loved one by simply selecting the patient’s bed number.  The application also contains a photo and brief biography for each Intensivist and it enables requests for a family meeting to be relayed to the relevant Intensivist via SMS and e-mail.

The user is then free to navigate through over 100 pages, many of which can be printed wirelessly within the waiting room, such as nearby accommodation, public transport and eateries, with maps highlighting the location and contact details).

A significant innovation is a “Procedures and Therapies” section describing all common ICU interventions and their risks, and a consent form covering ICU procedures for the next of kin to sign if the patient is unable.  Obtaining consent before common ICU procedures is not standard practice anywhere else in Australia.

This application is continuously being developed and refined as a result of ongoing consumer feedback, Google analytics and new ideas.

In the first 6 weeks, on average there were 111 instances of usage, comprising 350 screen views per day.

This application has already been shortlisted for the Australian Mobile & Application Design Awards.


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