Local Specificities Matter and Future Users Need to be Involved From Early On
 #1 By the team from the University of Vienna

ICU4Covid brings together a diverse set of hospital partners. Each of these hospitals comes with its specificities. For example, the healthcare systems the hospitals are embedded in are very different and make divergent provisions for how to keep a patient record and how to use telemedicine. Some hospitals have automated patient data management systems in place, while others keep paper files. Some hospitals have already a considerable history of using telemedicine. Others have only recently improvised telemedical solutions to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The technologies that the ICU4Covid project seeks to implement need to be adaptable to such heterogeneous starting points. We draw on a long tradition of social science research that shows that any technological solution incorporates assumptions about how this technology will and should be used in the future. Developers always draw on their experiences, beliefs, and imaginations when making decisions about the design and functionalities of the technologies they develop. Especially the telemedical centerpiece of the project, the MONA, has been developed against the background of the situation in the Aachen region. The experiences from its first implementations in hospitals across Europe show that this may not easily fit the situation in other places. Therefore, the project has to meet the challenge that it cannot roll out the technologies as a one-size-fits-all, out-of-the-box solution. To implement MONA and the other technologies successfully, the future users at the different sites, doctors and nurses, need to be involved as early as possible in the process – often well before the devices arrive in the ICUs and can be integrated into daily practices. Only in this way can the technologies made to respond to the local specificities, needs and desires.

the situation of a telemedical consultation.jpg

The situation of a telemedical consultation

how Mona was installed in the ICU.jpg

How Mona was installed in the ICU

This is one of three lessons written by our partners at the University of Vienna.

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