Information Design 2

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Tracking Systems

God is in the details –Mies van der Rohe The primary function of an ED tracking system – at least if you look at it from the right direction – is to display relevant, timely data to the user. A tracking system may do other things, but this function of data display is arguably its […]


Where is my [fill in the blank]? and Passive Tracking

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Tracking Systems

Where is the Chart!?!? If you visit different EDs, one of the most common tracking-type refrains you hear is “Where is Room 5’s chart? I’ve been looking for it for fifteen minutes!” Such problems delay ED patient care, and are one of the great motivators for moving to an all-electronic chart, one that can be […]


The Magic Number 7 (or maybe 4?), Forced Errors, Triage, and Color-Blindness

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Tracking Systems

In its most pedantic definition, an ED tracking system is a system for tracking things in the ED. Tracking things that, well, things that we need to keep track of. People. Orders. Labs. Consults. Messages from docs. Many different bits of information that are needed to keep the ED running smoothly. One of the reasons […]


Interruptions, Memory and Situational Awareness

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Tracking Systems

“Unless it produces action, information is overhead.” –Thomas Petzinger First, a caveat: vendors of HISs (hospital information systems) and EDISs (emergency department information systems) insist that a tracking system is just one component of an integrated system. They point out that there are interactions between a tracking system and CPOE (computer-based practitioner order entry) systems, […]


History, How Bad Design Kills, Posture and Metaphors

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Tracking Systems

The following historical account is based on personal experience as a child being taken to ERs in the 1950s, as an observer in ERs in the 1960s, an EMT and then street medic training in ERs in the 1970s, and then as an emergency physician since the 1980s. Some names may have been changed or […]