The workﬂow of clinicians in a patient ward can be described as nomadic. In addition to sitting in an ofﬁce or ﬁxed location (knowledge work), clinicians also roam through the hospital while doing their work (mobile work). This work typically includes collaborations with a large number of people and usage of physical tools and computing devices that are spread over multiple locations. Clinicians roam from one location to another while interacting with both mobile and stationary tools and devices. Most of these tools and devices are, however, intrinsically disconnected from each other, forcing clinicians to manually reconﬁgure the active work setting according to the situation. This results in work interruptions, information fragmentation and a disconnected workﬂowcrossing several information resources. Furthermore, there is little support for the ongoing collaborative context, situation or speciﬁc role of the device.
In this research project, we are investigating how activity-centric computing can be used as a context-aware approach to this multi-device conﬁguration problem in distributed interaction in hospitals. The Smartward interface is composed of three components:
- an interactive large display supporting vertical tangible user interfaces
- desktop computers running a modiﬁed version of the Patient Manager (a modiﬁed version of coActivity Manager)
- tablets that allows for off-screen conﬁguration based on the current owner and ongoing activity
SmartWard is a distributed context-aware patient management and information infrastructure designed to support multi-device location-aware collaborative workﬂows in patient wards. SmartWard supports patient management across large interactive displays, tablets and desktop computers and uses an ultrasound location tracker for location-aware services. The infrastructure is built on top of a general purpose activity-centric infrastructure , which provides a number of standardized distributed functions including support for ﬁle and event management, device discovery and context handling.