How might we change the sonography workflow, so that doctors are able to focus more on their weak or obese patients?

How might we change the sonography workflow, so that doctors are able to focus more on their weak or obese patients?

Sonosense

 2015; with Siemens (Healthcare) Healthineers

 2015; with Siemens (Healthcare) Healthineers

Sonosense is a wireless ultrasonic probe, optimized for an easier physical workflow with obese or weak patients. 

To capture clear and precise pictures during the ultrasound examination, it is important that patients are able to move and change their positions. Old, weak or obese patients are not able to do so on their own.

In corporation with Siemens Healthcare (now Healthineers) I designed a wireless ultrasound probe, which enables sonographers to focus on the patient and use their second hand intuitively.

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The probe's wristband functions as an interface between the physician, the patient and the ultrasound device. The wireless probe has its most important interaction elements for the ultrasonic examination combined at the wristband.

Workflow

The wireless probe releases the doctor's second hand. While using one hand for the ultrasound probe, the other hand can be used to position the patient and find the right position to capture images. This freedom allows physicians to take reliable, high-quality ultrasound images, even from hard-to-reach places.

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1. The sonographer unplugs the cable; the wireless ultrasound examination is starting.

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2. The second hand is free and the sonographer is able to focus the patient.

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3. The wristband allows the sonographer to interact with the ultrasonic unit.

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4. It is easy to change the patients position.

4. It is easy to change the patients position.

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5. The sonographer is able to react on patients needs.

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6. This enables intuitive touching and feeling.

Designprocess

User Research; Expert Interview; User Journey; Ideation Workshop; Prototyping

Challenge

Sonography, as a non-invasive real-time imaging method, has become an integral part of medicine. In the future, in which medicine is increasingly associated with prevention, it offers great potential. This project requires an examination of two perspectives. On the one hand, sonography experts who interpret ultrasound images. But it also addresses patients who are often physically unable to meet the requirements of the ultrasound context.

User Research

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During a visit at the ultrasonic showroom of Siemens Healthcare I was able to try out various devices myself. Experts explained the handling of ultrasound devices.

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At the Albertinen Hospital in Hamburg I accompanied specialists for two days. The focus was on abdominal sonography.

By observing everyday work processes I was able to gain numerous insights. I recognized valuable information through watching and talking to sonographers and their patients.

User Journey

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The User Journey summarizes all collected insights.

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Insight 01

During the examination situation there is a basic position for examiners. One hand is permanently on the keyboard to control the device. The other hand guides the ultrasound probe over the patient.

Quote from a doctor: "As you can see, here you are always 'playing the piano' with one hand."

Insight 01

During the examination situation there is a basic position for examiners. One hand is permanently on the keyboard to control the device. The other hand guides the ultrasound probe over the patient.

Quote from a doctor: "As you can see, here you are always 'playing the piano' with one hand."

How might we enable the doctor to focus his workflow on the patient?

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Insight 02

The cable of the ultrasonic probe is a hygienic and ergonomic problem.

The examiners use relieving postures to avoid these problems.

Ideation Workshop

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In a workshop with students and designers from Siemens (Healthcare) Healthinieers, we translated the first insights into first ideas and prototypes.

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Prototyping first ideas.

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How is it today. What might be desirable tomorrow?

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By building prototypes and making first ideas quickly experienceable, I was able to gather further insights during the process.

Insight 03

The determination of clear ultrasound images is essential for reliable diagnostics. For that high-quality images from different perspectives, patients often have to lie in different positions. It is often difficult to obtain clear ultrasound images because many patients are obese. Also old and weak patients are physically unable to do this.

How might we facilitate the doctor's work with physically weakened or obese patients?

Iteration through Prototyping

The examiner should be able to interact freely without being bound to a basic position or the probe cable. The doctor should be able to help weak patients to move into the required position.

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What if the sonographer could use the second hand to feel the right position for the probe.

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