The overall objective of this project was to develop a computerized, interactive interface (Patient Family Interface) that would improve future patient experience by supporting family involvement in hospital care. The Patient Family Interface (PFI) seeks to empower the families whose loved ones have been hospitalized, by giving them a tool to help monitor their loved one's condition and also to facilitate communication with staff. The PFI capitalizes on the intimate knowledge the family has of their loved one, particularly in regards to their typical behaviors and actions. The aim of the PFI is also to provide relevant information to families related to the patient’s condition and situation.
Due to industrialization (and busy schedules), it is increasingly difficult for family members to remain bedside, despite their natural desire to (c.f., Cho & Kim, 2006) and obvious need (i.e., caregivers' are overburdened). Hence, the proposed system promises to improve quality of patient care, by facilitating communication between the family member and the caregiver and patient, enabling greater involvement. It also has the potential to be extended beyond this semester, looking at applications outside the patient room (e.g. hospice care), wherever family members, caregivers, and patients may interact to improve quality of patient care and life.
With increasing demands on the healthcare system, particularly with end-of-life and geriatric care, technology should be leveraged to support greater family involvement in patient care. The need for such a solution has its roots not only in the future state/context of healthcare but also a survey of extant technology and hospital settings. Both anecdotal and documented cases of family desire for increased involvement suggest a real need for such a solution. The goal of the Patient Family Interface (PFI) is to provide a solution, which will enhance family members' awareness of what is going on with their loved one and allow them to effectively voice their concerns.