Helping nurses plan ahead in the neonatal intensive care unit


The workflow in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is relatively unpredictable, which makes it difficult to plan activities. Simple tasks such as checking device statuses may be forgotten, resulting in disturbing alarms. Nurses should be calmly informed about the state of the medical device and or upcoming alarm, so they can act before they reach a critical situation. We present CheckMates, ambient lighting displays, which visualize device statuses by using a color transition to provide nurses with more overview.

The research questions were, What are the potential benefits of the implementation of CheckMates, which show device statuses, in the NICU department? and What is the effect of CheckMates, which show device statuses, on the overview and planning capabilities of the nurses from the NICU department?

This study consisted of two parts. In the first part, an expert review was performed to gather opinions about the potential benefits of CheckMates using co-construction storyboards. The three experts all had different specialties in the field of neonatology. In the second part of the study, four simulation sessions were held to gather different experiences from eight NICU nurses while using the CheckMates.

The expert reviews showed that the CheckMates have a lot of potentials when it comes to developmental care. The participants confirmed that it positively influences the situation for patients and parents during the simulation study. It became clear that the CheckMates can help the nurse anticipate certain activities and thus distribute their workload. All the experts and most of the participants during the simulation study confirmed this statement. The CheckMates catch the nurse's attention at the right moment and seem to disappear into the background when a nurse is focusing on a task.

The findings show that CheckMates can help nurses to distribute their workload. This could result in the prevention of alarms and a more developmental-care oriented environment for premature infants.


Journal publication in Multimodal Technologies and Interaction, click here.


Collaborating with Maxima Medical Centrum Veldhoven

Desk research

Shadow study

Expert review

Simulation study

Analyzing user experience

Coding software CheckMates

Concept - Color transition CheckMates

Expert review - Sensitizing storyboard

Expert review - Visionary storyboard

Prototype - A CheckMate attached on water container

Simulation study - CheckMate attracts the nurse's attention

Simulation study - CheckMate attracts the nurse's attention

© 2020 Jesper van Bentum