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First smartphone designed for medical staff

Alarm fatigue is one of the biggest safety risks in the field of healthcare today. To counteract this, Ascom is creating a smartphone designed for nurses.

As a nurse, all you have to do is glance down at the Ascom Myco’s upper display in your pocket to decide how to deal with an incoming alarm. Or switch on the big screen to read it and do more. If you’re busy, you can click the alarm on to a free colleague. You can now receive cardiac curves and look at them on your phone, making an instant decision about the cause and seriousness.

The hospital environment places extremely specific, strict demands on durability and usage. To succeed, they had to manage the project flexibly and focus on usage. Contact with real users was also a characteristic of the whole project. The basic product concept emerged through shadowing and interviews with healthcare staff. Usage tests with interactive prototypes in the hospital environment were performed frequently in order to allow ideas to meet reality as soon and as mercilessly as possible. Changing a prototype is cheap, but it’s expensive once the product has been launched. Some ideas were rejected, others enhanced or redesigned to make the next iteration better. The tests served as a sounding board with reality.

Early on in the project, prototype apps were run on purchased Sony mobiles with corresponding screens and performance. These were cut down to fit into the 3D-printed case with the same shape as the Ascom Myco. This was good enough to be able to test the basic interface concepts out in hospitals all over the world. Basic clickable prototype smartphones were also used by the UX team to test and communicate ideas within the project and with developers.

To keep the project agile, Ascom held brief daily video meetings via Lync in which team members in Sweden and abroad could see each other’s faces. Instead of detailed specifications, basic documentation, graphics and simple prototypes were used by way of support, supplemented with close communication by Skype. This meant that the team could deal with rapid change according to changing conditions without drowning in cumbersome documentation work.

Read more at ascom.com och inUse.com.