Requirements for a Bespoke Intensive Care Unit Dashboard in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Semistructured Interview Study

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Intensive care units (ICUs) around the world are in high demand due to patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization. As researchers at the University of Bristol, we were approached to develop a bespoke data visualization dashboard to assist two local ICUs during the pandemic that will centralize disparate data sources in the ICU to help reduce the cognitive load on busy ICU staff in the ever-evolving pandemic.

The aim of this study was to conduct interviews with ICU staff in University Hospitals Bristol and Weston National Health Service Foundation Trust to elicit requirements for a bespoke dashboard to monitor the high volume of patients, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We conducted six semistructured interviews with clinical staff to obtain an overview of their requirements for the dashboard and to ensure its ultimate suitability for end users. Interview questions aimed to understand the job roles undertaken in the ICU, potential uses of the dashboard, specific issues associated with managing COVID-19 patients, key data of interest, and any concerns about the introduction of a dashboard into the ICU.

From our interviews, we found the following design requirements: (1) a flexible dashboard, where the functionality can be updated quickly and effectively to respond to emerging information about the management of this new disease; (2) a mobile dashboard, which allows staff to move around on wards with a dashboard, thus potentially replacing paper forms to enable detailed and consistent data entry; (3) a customizable and intuitive dashboard, where individual users would be able to customize the appearance of the dashboard to suit their role; (4) real-time data and trend analysis via informative data visualizations that help busy ICU staff to understand a patient’s clinical trajectory; and (5) the ability to manage tasks and staff, tracking both staff and patient movements, handovers, and task monitoring to ensure the highest quality of care.

The findings of this study confirm that digital solutions for ICU use would potentially reduce the cognitive load of ICU staff and reduce clinical errors at a time of notably high demand of intensive health care.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere30523
Number of pages14
JournalJMIR Human Factors
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is partly supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Digital Health and Care Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Bristol (UKRI grant EP/S023704/1 to MW). CMW is funded by the South West Better Care Partnership, supported by Health Data Research UK.

Publisher Copyright:
©Brittany Davidson, Katiuska Mara Ferrer Portillo, Marceli Wac, Chris McWilliams, Christopher Bourdeaux, Ian Craddock.


  • Intensive care
  • Critical care
  • COVID-19
  • Human-centered design
  • Dashboard
  • eHealth
  • Disease monitoring
  • Monitoring
  • ICU
  • Design
  • Development
  • Interview


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