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Within hospital environments, whiteboards have become tools to facilitate communication, coordinate patient care, and engage patients.1 2 Humber River Hospital, a large community hospital in Toronto Canada, moved into a new building with blank wall-mounted dry-erase whiteboards in each inpatient room. Although whiteboards were made available in these rooms, there was no standard practice in place to guide how information should be shared with patients and families using the whiteboards or how often this information should be updated.
The aim of this study was to design a standardised whiteboard using human factors methods, such as semi-structured interviews, user-centred design, and usability testing to improve provider–patient communication.
Between November 2017 and May 2018, a user-centred design process, an approach informed by the needs and understanding of a specific end-user group,3 was used to evaluate existing whiteboard utilisation, determine what information to standardise, and to create a single design to be implemented across inpatient units.
A human factors specialist conducted pre-implementation semi-structured interviews to assess pre-existing whiteboard utilisation. Semi-structured interviews with unit managers and clinical practice leaders (n=10), and nurses (n=46) were conducted to determine what information these healthcare providers found important to share with patients. With their consent, semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients and families (n=33) which confirmed that clinician recommendations aligned with the patients’ and families’ perspectives. Input from these three groups identified the need for customised whiteboard content for the following six clinical areas: Inpatient Medicine and Surgery Units (figure 1),4 Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Birthing Unit, Mother and Baby Unit, Neonatal ICU and Children’s Inpatient Unit. Common elements were standardised across all six designs, including the care team, date, room …
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