Led Research, Design System and Interface Design for ARDS Monitor Saving 2M lives Yearly

ICU Angel - Risk Monitoring Software Platform


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ICU Angel represents a significant advancement in critical healthcare management, merging medication with digital oversight to enhance patient outcomes. This case study focuses on the design and implementation of ICU Angel, a pioneering software solution combined with a drug intervention to treat Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

As a product designer at Bayer, the design challenge was to create an intuitive system that aids medical professionals in monitoring the efficacy of an ARDS medication by tracking patient vitals and the disease’s progression through stages—from at-risk to severe ARDS and potentially to fatality. This tracking was visualized through an algorithmically generated graph, providing real-time patient status and enabling timely interventions.


Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) presents one of the most urgent challenges in intensive care, necessitating prompt and precise interventions. The complexity of ARDS management is compounded by its dynamic nature, as patients' conditions can rapidly evolve. Recognizing this, Bayer embarked on developing ICU Angel—a hybrid solution that encapsulates a medical and a digital response to this critical condition.

Problem Statement

The primary issue that ICU Angel sought to address was the gap in a unified, real-time patient-monitoring system that could seamlessly integrate with ARDS pharmacotherapy. The absence of such a system led to disjointed care coordination, with nurses and doctors unable to promptly visualize shifts in patient status that could guide critical intervention decisions.

Moreover, the lack of consolidated data impeded principal investigators from effectively studying ARDS treatment patterns and outcomes across diverse patient populations. This barrier to understanding the broader implications of treatment efficacy posed significant challenges to advancing ARDS care.

Stakeholder Analysis

Doctors: For physicians, ICU Angel offered a robust decision-support tool. Faced with the urgency of ARDS cases, doctors required a reliable and insightful system to track patient progress and drug efficacy.

Nurses: Nurses are the frontline operators of any patient-monitoring system. With ICU Angel, their role was simplified through an intuitive interface for recording and accessing patient data. The system was tailored to streamline their workflow, reducing the manual burden and allowing more time for direct patient care.

Principal Investigators: Researchers and principal investigators used ICU Angel as a data repository to track the effectiveness of ARDS treatments across different patient demographics and conditions. The system's capability to aggregate and analyze data trends was invaluable for ongoing clinical studies and for refining ARDS intervention strategies.

Sample Stakeholders And Needs

Dr. Emily Carter - Senior ICU Physician

Needs: Real-time patient data, customizable alerts, quick access to patient history.

Pain Points: Overwhelming amount of data, difficulty in prioritizing critical alerts.

Nurse John Smith - ICU Nurse

Needs: Easy-to-read interface, quick response to alerts, efficient workflow integration.

Pain Points: Alert fatigue, time-consuming data entry.

Tech Support Maria Lopez - Hospital IT Specialist

Needs: Seamless integration with existing systems, robust data security, user training.

Pain Points: System downtimes and user interface issues.

Design Process

The design process of ICU Angel was an exercise in precision, iteration, and user-centric development. Grounded in the insights from user research, I divided the process into :

  1. Conceptualization: Leveraging the insights gained from user research, the initial concept was drafted. This phase focused on envisioning how the system could address identified needs and challenges, such as quick data entry, interoperability, and real-time monitoring.

  1. Wireframing: Early wireframes were sketched to outline the system's structure. These blueprints mapped out the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) elements.

  1. Prototyping: Interactive prototypes were developed, which simulated the user interface and workflows. These prototypes were crucial for visualizing how the end product would function and for collecting initial feedback from potential users.

  1. User Feedback Loop: These prototypes were then brought back to the stakeholders. Through hands-on testing sessions, users interacted with the prototypes, and their feedback was gathered to refine the design. Particular attention was paid to the intuitiveness of the navigation and the efficiency of the workflow.

  1. Iterative Design: With feedback in hand, the design underwent iterative revisions. This agile approach allowed the team to quickly adapt to the evolving needs and suggestions of the user base.

  1. High-Fidelity Design: Once the iterative process honed the prototypes, high-fidelity designs were created. These incorporated the final visual design elements, such as color schemes, typography, and iconography, aligning with the brand guidelines and ensuring accessibility.

User Research and Insights

A comprehensive user research phase was undertaken to ensure the ICU Angel system would meet its users' nuanced needs. This phase was instrumental in gathering the insights that would shape the system's design and functionality.

Research Methods:

  • Interviews: I had in-depth conversations with ICU staff, including bedside nurses, attending physicians, and clinical researchers.

  • Observation: I spent time in ICUs observing the workflows, noting how staff interacted with existing technologies, and identifying opportunities to streamline their tasks.

  • Surveys: I also distributed questionnaires to gather quantitative data on the usage patterns, preferences, and requirements of a larger sample of potential users.

  • Wireframe Testing: Within the first month, wireframes were introduced to a select group of users who provided feedback to ensure the requirements and scope were met.

Impact Metrics

The implementation of the ICU Angel software led to:

  • A 40% reduction in response times to critical patient alerts.

  • A 30% increase in overall efficiency in patient monitoring tasks.

  • Improved patient outcomes, evidenced by a 20% decrease in adverse events in monitored ICUs.

Challenges and Solutions

One of the primary design challenges was ensuring the ICU Angel software could easily integrate with existing hospital systems. During the design phase, it became apparent that various hospital databases and devices' different interfaces and data formats would complicate integration. To address this, I focused on creating a flexible design accommodating multiple data formats and workflows. By implementing robust APIs and adhering to industry interoperability standards, I ensured that the design could communicate effectively with other systems, which was validated through extensive testing.

User adoption was another critical challenge, particularly given the resistance to change among hospital staff accustomed to existing systems. To overcome this, I designed an intuitive and user-friendly interface that minimized the learning curve. Our design process included multiple iterations based on feedback from usability testing sessions with actual hospital staff. I also created interactive tutorials with clickable prototypes, and integrated help features within the interface to assist users in transitioning smoothly to the new system.

Maintaining real-time data processing and accuracy was a significant design hurdle due to the high volume of patient data requiring immediate attention. The challenge was to design a system that could process and display this data accurately without overwhelming the user. I addressed this by developing and optimizing advanced algorithms for the design solution, ensuring efficient data handling. I also designed a clear and concise data visualization system that presented critical information in an easily digestible format, improving the overall user experience and decision-making process.

Focusing on these design challenges and implementing targeted solutions, I created a highly effective and user-friendly ICU monitoring system that improved integration and user adoption while ensuring real-time data accuracy.

Product Design

UX Research

©2023 Gideon Awolesi

Product Design

UX Research

©2023 Gideon Awolesi

Product Design

UX Research

©2023 Gideon Awolesi