Our team was tasked with improving the mobility of patients at inpatient facilities. We held one-on-one interviews and led workshops with providers and staff at Salem Hospital to understand the challenges of mobilizing patients. After co-leading sketching sessions, I designed and drafted early prototypes of what became the ‘Mobility Speedometer.’ We collected user feedback from providers at Salem Hospital and made revisions along the way.
Increasing patient mobility in the hospital through a visual communication tool
The ultimate design was low-cost, simple to produce, and intuitive to understand by providers, staff, patients and their families. The Speedometer is a laminated, wall-mounted poster broken into four stages by color that coincide with an established mobility measurement system (Johns Hopkins Highest Level of Mobility). To use the Speedometer, a nurse indicates a patient’s daily goal with an arrow secured by velcro and marks the patient’s ultimate goal at discharge by dry erase marker.
We tested the Speedometer in a three-month pilot across 75 patient beds. The results showed a 3x increase in the number of mobility episodes documented. 81% of patients improved or maintained their mobility compared to 59% in the baseline. And there was a total of 259 hospital days saved. Following the pilot, Salem Hospital expanded the Speedometer to the entire hospital. I continue to lead production of the Speedometers and design revisions based on user feedback.
︎The latest Mobility Speedometer prioritizes simplicity of use: a nurse marks the patient initials and ‘discharge goal’ with a dry erase marker and adjusts the arrow daily to mark a patient’s mobility goal for the day.