Enhancing an existing patient dashboard with the use of internet of things

Figure 1. Business-process diagram outlining the ward-round process

The internet of things (IoT) has become increasingly popular within the healthcare sector as it could help resolve various issues and facilitate the automation of a number of tasks [1]. The aim of this dissertation was to enhance the patient dashboard – a web application used by medical staff at Mater Dei Hospital (MDH) ‒ by improving the overall user experience for the said staff, while also applying case studies that make use of IoT.

The patient dashboard connects multiple modules from all departments to store all available medical data regarding individual patient’s ‒ such as administered medication, blood test results, etc. – to be displayed on a single screen. Many case studies were viewed and analysed to identify where IoT was being used in the healthcare sector, and how it could be better applied to the patient dashboard [2].

The project also required conducting usability studies. These were carried out among medical practitioners, and also involved developers from the hospital’s IT department working on the existing patient dashboard. This was done in order to get a better understanding of how and where IoT is being used at the hospital. Results from this study have shown that, overall, the application offers a wide scope of functionality. However, the medical practitioners also pointed out certain user interface (UI) issues affected the number of steps required to carry out a task. Features such as searching for a patient were only available in the main menu, and navigating through a patient list was not possible. These UI issues proved to be tedious for the medical practitioners when conducting ward rounds at MDH. Upon getting further clarification, the case studies that were given the highest scores by the participants were designed and implemented creating prototypes to be evaluated later on in the study. The new features that were introduced made use of IoT, including QR and barcode scanners, as well as near-field communication (NFC) protocols.

Figure 2. Case study example: writing data onto an NFC tag

Following the above, another usability review was carried out on the developed prototypes. The participants found the new UI to be less time-consuming (i.e. in accessing certain features) and also relatively clear and easy to read. Finally, upon testing the features that made use of IoT, medical practitioners were greatly satisfied with the performance and the extent to which the features promised to facilitate their daily task.


[1] S. Madakam, R. Ramaswamy and S. Tripathi, “Internet of Things (IoT): A Literature Review”, Journal of Computer and Communications, vol. 03, no. 05, pp. 164-173, 2015. Available: 10.4236/jcc.2015.35021

[2] F. Hu, D. Xieand S. Shen, “On the Application of the Internet of Things in the Field of Medical and Health Care”, 2013 IEEE International Conference on Green Computing and Communications and IEEE Internet of Things and IEEE Cyber, Physical and Social Computing, 2013. Available: 10.1109/greencom-ithings-cpscom.2013.38

Student: James Theuma
Course: B.Sc. IT (Hons.) Software Development
Supervisor: Dr. Conrad Attard