Cornell Tech / Healthcare


Improve care team - patient communication efficiency

Communication between inpatient and care team greatly impacts inpatient satisfaction and care quality.


It’s an innovative challenge I participated in 2015 summer. I formed a team with doctors and technologist within Cornell Tech and NYP (NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital). We then established a start-up and got the attention and interviews from Blueprint Health.


Survey results reveal that ineffective and untimely communication is a large source of patient frustration and dissatisfaction during hospitalization. After consulting and interviewing medical professionals, we identified that the current call bell system has a problem.

Under the current call bell system, inpatients push the bell to call a nurse's attention. Once the nurse is notified, he or she walks to the ward and inquires the needs of the inpatient. At this point, the nurse may need to head back to station and to the ward again in order to provide inpatient’s need. This process alone needlessly takes up a lot of time and energy of the inpatient and care team.


The current patient-request designation among nurses affect the team coordination and workload. I want to improve patient to nurse communication to advance the quality of the patient experience and achieve higher quality, more coordinated care.

Staff satisfaction is key to patient satisfaction. Coordinating care requests among nurses will minimize stress and workload to the nurses and elevate the patient's experience.


My role was to identify problem and think of feasible intervention. By collaborating with doctors and engineer, I’ve been supporting and leading research and design.

I try to understand the problem and context without bias. I put efforts to reframe the problem and do research and interviews with stakeholders to figure out the interactions between patients and care teams.

Based on some observation of the current system and technology like some smart wards, we find out that many of them end up with poor result. Many applications and facilities is overwhelming for patient to adapt for just staying few days. So that’s why we think personal mobile devices might be a solution for this. Because people are familiar with their own devices. On the other hand it might avoid infection risk.

Considering the age ranges of the user. Many of them are above 60. For those who might not familiar with technology, we actually divide the solution in two parts. One is the virtual call bell, we list the most popular message that can send to nurse beforehand. The other one is just used text message.

Target Audience & Stakeholders

Nurse - The possible intervention will direct impact nurse work condition.
Patients - The end goal is to elevate patient experience and satisfaction.
Hospitals - Hospitals will be providing / paying the services.


MedBuzzer is our solution to the problem. It is designed for patient-centered communication that will promote patient engagement while facilitating improved delivery of care. The main concept is to let the inpatient address his or her requests before the nurse's visit. If the nurses are being notified of the inpatient's needs beforehand, they can provide more efficient care. This will save a lot of energy for both the care team and the inpatient.

I focus on the user flow and think to present it in the simplest way that people will easily identify. The ideal is to make it in a similar way of how we use email because most of elder people use smartphone only just email.

I designed few wireframes to test with the work flow. The red call bell button is designed to stick at the bottom that users can always find it. I shortened the phrase of the requests and added the icons to the final visual that easier to identify the options in case it’s something urgent.

MedBuzzer app
RN Dashboard
Unit Clerk Dashboard
Unit Clerk Dashboard


In part of this system, I mainly designed visuals and app as a tool for customers to see the transparent information of the packaging itself. In order to make complicated information digestible for consumers. I focus on the user experience toward a simpler way to visualized information. After making their way to our website or app, users to dive into the impact that products have on the environment.

Through the app, users can scan the barcodes of products or use the search or browse function. Once on a product page, they can see the product, rating, and more detail about what went into that rating, the energy, water, and waste used to make that product, from raw material to final manufacturing.


Designing for healthcare is always tricky. I’ll need to stand in users’ shoes and fully understand nurses’ needs to improve their working condition and elevate patient experience. In order to be successful, the intervention should be easy to adapt by stakeholders. It should be something that can merge into existing system instead of disrupting the system. Prototype should demonstrates a more effective coordination by reducing back and forth communication, responses delay, noises and increasing both nurse and patient satisfaction.

Although we had a smart team got the attention by incubator, the team end up break-up because of the unclear team structure and lack of manage and business experience. However, it's a great experience that trigger my interests in healthcare and entrepreneurship.


Nancy Yang, Judy Wu, Michael Correl, Sameer Mittal, Joshua Halpern, Jonathan Shoag, Ashley Winter