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Simple is better

Healthcare is changing faster than ever before. Technology is everywhere, cost pressures are increasing and delivering care is more complicated than it used to be. Nurture and Modo worked together to find a way to simplify workflow, move technology where it is needed and give doctors and nurses more control.

“Healthcare should cost less and patients should come first.”

By understanding how people, objects and environments converge to create a healthcare experience, we developed Pocket- a system of carts that minimizes clutter and eliminates unneeded steps. These carts give doctors and nurses the flexibility to adapt to changing patient needs. Our research produced three key insights.

Clinical procedures do not stand still. They are constantly evolving. Doctors and nurses need the freedom to adapt current practices to new technology and new standards of care.

The pace of technological change is accelerating. More procedures are moving to the patient room and the relationship between people and technology is evolving. Doctors and nurses need the flexibility to integrate technology into the delivery of care without tearing down a wall, building a new wing or forgetting about the patient.

No two hospitals do things the same way. Although evidence-based medicine is gaining ground, people make small changes to accommodate patients, technology and budgets. Objects should enable care, not dictate it.

We started with a simple idea: Technology should be a tool, not a distraction. Alan Rheault, Director of Product Development for Nurture started by watching people use technology to deliver care. He wanted to understand how the process could be improved.

"The initial feedback was confusing. Some people wanted storage. Others wanted less weight and a smaller footprint. Everyone was moving in a different direction." We gathered more data. We visited more hospitals, observed more procedures and walked in the shoes of patients. We compared notes, defined trends and exchanged ideas. Finally, we reached a conclusion: There is no single point solution. Care is constantly evolving. Hospitals need the freedom to adapt to new ideas, changing regulations and evolving methods. Pocket started to take shape.

We divided the world into three regions with shared use patterns; the Americas, Europe and Asia. We saw Europe as the most demanding market in terms of human factors, value, sustainability, footprint and aesthetics so we started there. We mapped out a complete product range and we created concepts. Then, everything changed.

We hit a recession. Value became more important than features. Money was scarce and hospitals needed to find less expensive ways of doing things better. We went back to the drawing board with a renewed commitment to cost, flexibility and simplicity. Jan Carlson of Nurture challenged the team; "Find a way to make technology light, mobile and easy to use."

We embraced a minimalist approach. We included valued features, nothing more. We put users in control of the design and we eliminated unneeded materials. We got down to basics using one of Google's design principles as a guide: "Simple to use. Easy to love."

We created Pocket to give nurses and doctors a way to weave technology into the delivery of care. Our first prototypes worked in unexpected ways. One Pocket that was meant for an exam room found its way to the Emergency Department as a patient discharge station. A different Pocket intended for insurance screening was used for spot checking vital signs. The design did not end with Nurture. Nurses and doctors constantly find new ways to use Pocket to bring technology closer to care. This is a product where users define what it is and what it can do. Alan Rheault observed; "Pocket is not a product, it's the beginning of a conversation."

Pocket is small, easy to configure and supports everything from a laptop or iPad to a flower vase. In our first hospital test, someone asked about our inspiration. The response was quick and simple; healthcare should cost less and patients should come first. Pocket makes that happen.

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