_No More Paper Trail

A centrally accessible display of a patient’s medical information promises to bring order to the chaos of treating severely injured patients.

_Aleksandra Sarcevic

Sarcevic is an assistant professor in the College of Computing and Informatics.

Trauma resuscitations are chaotic, and for good reason: A lot needs to happen to bring someone back to life, all by a team of people pulling in the same direction.

But information can be lost in that chaos. It’s a problem Aleksandra Sarcevic is working to solve.

Sarcevic, an assistant professor in the College of Computing & Informatics, along with her PhD students Diana Kusunoki and Zhan Zhang, has created an information display prototype that is now being evaluated for use in pediatric trauma resuscitations in the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Their information display contains all crucial data needed in a trauma situation and makes it readily accessible to anyone on the team working to save that child’s life.

Participatory Design


Sarcevic’s team designed the display by asking researchers involved in pediatric trauma reuscitations what they needed and by having physicians test early prototypes.

“These are very fast, dynamic, high-tempo, high-pressure, unpredictable environments where a team of doctors, nurses and physicians are treating severely injured patients,” Sarcevic says. “The big problem they’re facing is access to information, which is often missing or incomplete.”

Sarcevic conferred with physicians and researchers at Children’s National Medical Center, University of California San Diego and Rutgers University to come up with a display that shows heart rate, a patient’s weight and age, how the patient was injured, what interventions were used in the ambulance and in the hospital, and what tests have been ordered.

The information is specific, too. For a child injured in a car accident, for example, the display doesn’t just say “car accident” but “rear passenger / hip belt only / air bag” because that’s the kind of information that will most help doctors treat the patient.

The team’s project was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Their displays began being tested in January.