Client Stories

Alert System Implementation in a Residency for Older Adults in Columbia MO

Time Frame:

Fall 2019


  • Interviews
  • Sociotechnical walkthrough
Dr. Mihail Popescu

The elderly care facility uses sensors in residents’ rooms to track resident well-being. IE Lab focus was to study how staff nurses use the alert system designed to enhance resident care. Alerts are received via SMS text and desktop.

Applying open-ended interviews, the IE Lab conducted a socio-technical walkthrough of the elderly care facility. Interviewees represented one of the five roles within the organization: Manager, Director of Nursing, Social Worker, Licensed Practicing Nurse, and Frontline Nurse. After the interviews, the IE Lab created a SeeMe-Model to map out the technological ecosystem in order to identify gaps in the communication process. IE Lab presented findings to the client.

  • The staff has to juggle too many hardware devices (i.e. smartphones, desktops, pagers).
  • Older smart phones are the only ones capable of receiving SMS text, but won’t hold a charge.
  • The sensors pick up readings that are not actual problems, so staff suffers from false alert fatigue.
  • The overall ecosystem is too complex and the staff are not aware of what everyone else is doing within the coordination process.
  • More training is needed.