Buy this Article for $10.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.


Computer user interface, Data display, Equipment design, ICU nurses



  1. Gorges, Matthias PhD
  2. Kuck, Kai PhD
  3. Koch, Sven H. PhD
  4. Agutter, Jim MArch
  5. Westenskow, Dwayne R. PhD


Although nurses perform the majority of the clinical tasks in an intensive care unit, current patient monitors were not designed to support a nurse's workflow. Nurses constantly triage patients, deciding which patient is currently in the most need of care. To make this decision, nurses must observe the patient's vital signs and therapeutic device information from multiple sources. To obtain this information, they often have to enter the patient's room. This study addresses 3 hypotheses. Information provided by far-view monitoring displays (1) reduces the amount of time to determine which patient needs care first, (2) increases the accuracy of assigning priority to the right patient, and (3) reduces nurses mental workload. We developed 2 far-view displays to be read from a distance of 3 to 5 m without entering the patient's room. Both display vital signs, trends, alarms, infusion pump status, and therapy support indicators. To evaluate the displays, nurses were asked to use the displays to decide which of 2 patients required their attention first. They made 60 decisions: 20 with each far-view display and 20 decisions with a standard patient monitor next to an infusion pump. Sixteen nurses (median age of 27.5 years with 2.75 years of experience) participated in the study. Using the 2 far-view displays, nurses more accurately and rapidly identified stable patients and syringe pumps that were nearly empty. Median decision times were 11.3 and 12.4 seconds for the 2 far-view displays and 17.2 seconds for the control display. The 2 far-view displays reduced median decision-making times by 4.8 to 5.9 seconds, increased accuracy in assignment of priority in 2 of 7 patient conditions, and reduced nurses' frustration with the triaging task. In a clinical setting, the proposed far-view display might reduce nurses' mental workload and thereby increase patient safety.