Prototyping an important tool to design the organization at emergency departments


Two emergency departments in the Central Denmark Region have tested how prototyping can be a valuable method to develop new processes and organizational structure. ICOA observed and evaluated the process.

2014.09.30 | Pernille Kallehave

How can an emergency department develop and test new working processes in the midst of a busy working environment?  This is a challenge for many departments and was a theme of a workshop for an emergency department from the Central Denmark Region. Research assistant Iben Duvald from ICOA has been following two departments use of prototyping as a tool to develop and test new working processes and presented her findings for management and staff of one of the two departments at their workshop.

"In prototyping the department develop a hypothesis on what they presume will be the best working process. This hypothesis is then tested in the daily routine and later evaluated. This way the department can decide whether they should change the working processes or keep the old one," says Iben Duvald.

Her research shows, that many staff members either did not know the term 'prototyping' or had a different perception of the meaning of the term in their departmental setting. One of the management's goals with inviting Iben to speak about her project, was to give the staff a common knowledge about prototyping.

"We realized that it is very important to inform staff that we are now running a prototyping project," says one of the nurses. "Next time I will set up poster telling about the project, its timeframe and ensure that staff is included and get proper feedback."

Iben Duvald also illustrated that the tool is used in many different ways in the two departments. The workshop thus inspired the departments to discuss the best ways of using protopyping in the future.

"Iben Duvald presented the preliminary findings in a professional manner, and neutral in relation to the two very different ways of working with prototyping. We recommend that the preliminary results disseminated nationally to inspire other hospitals," says the department management.

Knowledge exchange, DESIGN-EM