The art of Handing Over: Improving the Patient Handovers at the Intensive Care Unit by a Human-Centred Design Approach

L. Schrauwen, Tina van Hemel, F. Sleeswijk Visser, A. Albayrak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


This study aimed to enhance the patient handovers within the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) by design, based on experienced qualities and pain points by the ICU team, existing of doctors and nurses. At the ICU, care is delivered by multidisciplinary
healthcare teams who strongly rely on teamwork and communication. Patient handovers are scheduled moments of communication where information between different healthcare professionals is exchanged. However, patient handovers involve failures as well, which can be the result of educational, psychological, and organizational factors. To discover how design can overcome these failures in information sharing, first observations and interviews within
the ICU were done. The aim of the observations was to reveal everyday
practices of the ICU team. The purpose of the interviews was to get a deeper understanding of their personal experience with the different patient handover moments. The observations provided insights in the interactions between doctors, nurses, and both groups. The interviews revealed the experiences ICU
doctors and nurses have with patient handovers. The obtained insights were captured in two work models showing the handover activities, touchpoints, and experienced qualities and pain points over time. Based on that, a
design was iteratively created in co-creation with the ICU team and evaluated within an ICU. All in all, it was discovered that a design should facilitate more structure, overview, and reflection. The human-centred design approach in combination with Research through Design (RtD) turned out to be key during the study.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 6th International Conference on Design4Health Amsterdam 2020
EditorsK. Christer, C. Craig, P. Chamberlain
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic) 978-1-8381117-0-0
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event6th International Conference on Design4Health2020 /Online - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 1 Jul 20203 Jul 2020


Conference6th International Conference on Design4Health2020 /Online


  • intensive care
  • atient handovers
  • human-centred design,
  • research through design


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