Context-Aware Nurse Assistant (CANA) (2015-)

Type: Context-aware healthcare tool

Purpose: Facilitate nurses’ daily work activities through context-aware service provision

Place: Elderly houses, hospitals

Technologies: Mobile and web technologies

Period: 2015-

Contributors: Nathaniel Ham, Michael Dayen, Raphael Sculati, Patrick Alaspää, Marie Monkam, Tsegai Kbreab, Amir Dirin, Mitra Dirin and Teemu H. Laine

In the age of mobile and ubiquitous computing, many nurses working in the healthcare sector still utilize traditional tools (e.g., paper calendars and clipboards) and pre-installed mobile applications (e.g., web browser, calendar) in their work activities. For example, when we interviewed nurses at two Finnish elderly houses, we found out that they often spend up to 30 minutes for writing reports that could be automatically generated with an appropriate tool.

In order to improve the work experience of nurses, we proposed Context-Aware Nurse Assistant (CANA) which aims to consolidate nurses’ daily work activities through context-aware services in a single smartphone application. Some of the features that were designed to be included in CANA are:

  • Per-patient calendar
  • Work shift lists
  • Medicine information search
  • Emergency alarms
  • Discussion board for nurses
  • Department’s booklet

These and other features were identified through the mLUX design framework, which is a User Centered Design (UCD) process for developing mobile applications. During the design process we interviewed nurses working at Finnish elderly houses, developed prototypes, and evaluated the prototypes with the participating nurses. Through the use of mLUX, we were able to ensure that the system meets the requirements of the end users.

CANA implementation is based on web technologies. It has a server back-end that manages most of information storage and processing. Lightweight clients connect to the server using standard web protocols. The following image describes the overall architecture.


The user interface of CANA was designed to be responsive, simple and easy to interact with. A fascinating feature of the user interface is that it changes dynamically based on the nurse’s context. The following images show examples the first CANA prototype user interface (click to enlarge).






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