Activities in Critical Care

SUMMARY: Lapses in patient safety have been linked to unexpected perturbations in clinical workflow. The effectiveness of workflow analysis becomes critical to understanding the impact of these perturbations on patient outcome. The typical methods used for workflow analysis, such as ethnographic observations and interviewing, are limited in their ability to capture activities from different perspectives simultaneously. This limitation, coupled with the complexity and dynamic nature of clinical environments makes understanding the nuances of clinical workflow difficult. The methods proposed in this research aim to provide a quantitative means of capturing and analyzing workflow.

METHODS: The approach taken utilized recordings of motion and location of clinical teams that are gathered using radio frequency identification tags and observations. While the tags capture information about movement based activities, observations are utilized to provide context and information about communication and decision making activities. This data is used to model activities in critical care environments. The detected activities can then be replayed in 3D virtual reality environments for further analysis and training.

CONCLUSIONS: Using this approach, the proposed system augmented existing methods of workflow analysis, allowing for capture of workflow in complex and dynamic environments. The system was tested with a set of 15 simulated clinical activities that when combined represent workflow in trauma units. A mean recognition rate of 87.5% was obtained in automatically recognizing the activities.

ROLE: Researcher

STATUS: Completed (2010)



  • [BOOK CHAPTER] Vankipuram M, Kahol K, Kannampallil TG, Franklin A, “Automated Workflow Analysis and Tracking Using Radio Frequency Identification Technology”, Cognitive Informatics in Health and Biomedicine: Case Studies on Critical Care, Complexity and Medical Error, Springer, N.Y. [IN DRAFT]
  • [DISSERTATION] Vankipuram M, “Understanding Adaptive Behaviors in Complex Clinical Environments”, Arizona State University, (2012); Submitted for completion of Ph. D. Biomedical Informatics. [Download PDF]
  • [JOURNAL ARTICLE] Vankipuram M, Kahol K, Cohen T, Patel VL, “Toward Automated Workflow Analysis and Visualization in Clinical Environments”, J Biomedical Informatics, (2011); 44(3): 432-40. [Download PDF]
  • [CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS] Vankipuram M, Kahol K, Cohen T, Patel V, “Visualization and Analysis of Activities in Critical Care Environments”, American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Annual Symposium Proceedings, (2009); 662–6. [Download PDF]
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