We designed Timely, a mobile app that automatically documents ambulance missions and tracks worker performance against benchmarks.
1 month (part-time)
Nov. 2014 – Dec. 2014
Ron Kim, Michael Richardson, Natalie Salaets, Ming Zhang
Performed online ethnography
Led research synthesis
Established design objectives
Designed user interface
Our research uncovered two opportunities
1: Help ambulance workers protect their careers
2. Minimize the time it takes to throroughly document each mission
“I started out taking more than 10mins to write a full report, after a while I could get one done in 4-5mins, the city will force you to get better and faster because I can still remember my FTO telling me we had 911 calls waiting in our area and freaked out and wrote like a damn tornado.”
– Ambulance worker on an online forum
We designed Timely, a mobile app that automatically documents each mission and uses the collected data to support ambulance workers.
How Timely Works
- During each ambulance mission, Timely runs in the background collecting GPS, weather, and traffic data. Timely combines its data with the Dispatch System data to paint a complete picture of the mission.
- [Optional] After the mission is over, the Ambulance Worker can write additional notes about the experience.
- The Ambulance Worker, the Supervisor, and Regulators can review Timely Performance Analytics.
- GPS automatically documents time-based metrics to save ambulance workers time.
- Weather and traffic data can exonerate ambulance workers who missed benchmarks for legitimate reasons.
- Real-time performance analytics allow ambulance workers to reflect on their past performance and identify areas for improvement.
- Milestone awards help ambulance workers and their supervisors easily recognize steady performance and improvements.
Our UI Designs
1. Splash Screen
Users are greeted by this logo which depicts a clock representing the type of performance Timely Tracks. The clock-hands form a "T" for Timely.
2. Secure Login
Users log into Timely to begin running in the background for data collection. Privacy is not a primary concern because Timely does not collect personally identifiable patient data.
This user went on 53 missions in the last 7 days. 90.1% of the missions met benchmark goals. He can look into improving his Scene Time.
4. Time Type Definitions
Ambulance workers do not always speak about specific Time Types. They can click on the names to review the definitions such as the "Total Time" and "Response Time".
5. Chute Time Trends
The user can click on the Chute Time bar to see specific details. This level of granularity improves transparency that helps users trust Timely.
6. Chute Time Trends (Monthly)
The timespan bar allows the user to see trends at different intervals.
7. Calls Tab
The Calls tab displays the most recent calls with a summary of pertinent details
8. Calls Tab with Search
The user can create a custom report for a specific time period or filter priority, zone, or tag
9. Call Details
From the Calls summary tab, the user can click on the specific call for details
10. Call Details - Notes
The user can access their notes about the mission that may better explain the times
Milestones help users summarize their performance in a positive way. They earn a variety of Milestones that trigger push notifications and help them stay active on Timely.
The user can toggle push notifications on or off. An example of a push notification is a Milestone alert.
How it all connects
Three Design Challenges
1. Make performance data relevant to ambulance workers and easy to interpret.
Focus on a very specific aspect for analytics: time per segment
Hide the zoning complexities that set different benchmark times based on distance from hospital
2. Avoid adding pressure on ambulance workers by designing a supportive environment.
Explain missed benchmarks with weather and traffic tags
Clarify context with user notes
Avoid competition amongst peers by making milestones personal
Do not use negative colors (like this red used in a previous prototype)
Show the percent of benchmarks met instead of time exceeding benchmark goals.
Focus on trends instead of single incidents
3. Find an appropriate balance of transparency and patient privacy.
Do not show a map to ambulance workers to protect the patient privacy.
Analysis of online EMT forums
We identified the challenges ambulance workers face in their own words.
We referenced the rules and regulations for ambulance providers set by Chicago and Los Angeles as well as industry best practices to nail down the details of benchmarks and required documentation.
- There are specific time limits for transporting patients to a hospital based on zone.
- Ambulance providers must document up to 22 metrics per call.
- There is an opportunity to disseminate performance information directly to ambulance workers that is not currently encouraged by a city’s regulations.
“In 2006, the Institute of Medicine found that there was a widespread lack of accountability in EMS and provided three recommendations for EMS leaders:
1) Develop performance indicators;
2) Measure system performance;
3) Disseminate performance information.”
— How Good is Your Ambulance Service? Report, 2011
We identified opportunities and design considerations.
I led the idea generation session in which each team member independently came up with 7-10 concepts before sharing. This approach helped us come up with 52 unique mobile app concepts that pulled from our unique backgrounds.
We narrowed the scope of the problem space using impact-feasibility analysis.
Top 5 Visions
Site Map Iterations
Peer reviews of the site map helped us to improve the visibility of the Milestone Badges.
We prevented tunnel vision and get better feedback with side-by-side comparisons.
Twice-weekly Peer Reviews
We got peer feedback to make data visualizations easy to interpret.