Acute Medical Units (AMUs) are highly resourced hospital units to investigate and decide on the best care plan for patients presenting with unplanned, urgent medical conditions. AMUs in the UK are currently experiencing high demand pressures – they are constantly admitting overflow patients from A&E but are unable to move on or discharge patients with more complex conditions. The project is working with AMU teams in eight hospitals in England and Scotland to explore the barriers and challenges to good patient flow. The research has identified nine areas for possible design intervention, with ‘discharge from hospital’ singled out as a key element where flow can be improved.
The research team has developed design concepts to improve the visibility of the process for the whole clinical team involved in patient care. This allows teams to share information within AMUs and beyond, expediting the process of discharge from hospital. Making the care journey visible will also empower patients by providing them with information and facilitating follow-up after discharge, improving patient safety and dignity.