Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 205–214 | Cite as

Supporting information access in a hospital ward by a context-aware mobile electronic patient record

  • Mikael B. SkovEmail author
  • Rune Th. Høegh
Original Article


Context-awareness holds promise for improving the utility of software products. Context-aware mobile systems encompass the ability to automatically discover and react to changes in an environment. Most contemporary context-aware mobile systems aim to support users in private situations, for example, as tourist guides. Thus, we still lack an understanding of the impact of context-awareness in professional work situations. In this paper, we explore context-awareness for mobile electronic patient records through the design of a context-aware mobile prototype called MobileWard. The aim of MobileWard is to support nurses in conducting morning procedures in a hospital ward. MobileWard is context-aware as it is able to discover and react autonomously according to changes in the environment and since it integrates the ability to provide information and services to the user where the relevancy depends on the user’s task. We evaluate MobileWard in two usability evaluations to assess the usefulness of the system and we find that context-awareness holds some promising opportunities, but that it also introduces some potential interaction problems when users are mobile and working in a professional environment. Implications and limitations of the proposed solution are further discussed.


Human–computer interaction Context-awareness Mobility Mobile devices 



The work behind this paper received financial support from the Danish Natural Science Research Council (grant no. 21-03-0301) and the Danish Research Agency (grant no. 2106-04-0022). We would like to thank the participating nurses at Frederikshavn Hospital. Also, we would like to thank Karsten Kryger Hansen and Søren Lauritsen in the development of MobileWard. Finally, we would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

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