TIME 5 weeks in 2022   SKILL Service Design, UI Design   CLIENT Mater Hospital Dublin   TEAM Ashleen Nee, Yuyu Sun

Trauma Care in the Emergency Department

Where people’s lives are at stake every day, quick, accurate, and effective information flow is essential. This service solution is designed to improve and digitise communication in the Emergency Department.


  • How might we envision new systems to advance major trauma care within central Ireland?
  • The focus was on improving the communication flow for the entire Trauma Team.



  • Five-week design sprint
  • Design research: ethnographic studies in the hospital and in-depth interviews with emergency staff
  • Solution exploration: visual and digital prototypes



  • A communication proposal including three prototyped elements
  • This project gained international recognition and was awarded ‘Best Student Project 2023’ by the Global Service Design Network.


The why

Trauma teams make a decision linked to a life-saving intervention every 72 seconds in the initial 30 minutes of trauma reception.

— Fitzgerald, Reilly, Smit, et al. (2019) The World Health Organization trauma checklist versus Trauma Team Time-out: A perspective.

Major trauma involves complex injuries that can lead to prolonged disability or death of patients. Currently, most acute hospitals in Ireland admit trauma patients, regardless of their level of trauma expertise.

In future, the Mater Hospital Dublin shall become the Major Trauma centre for the central Trauma Network Ireland to be a hub to treat patients with life-threatening injuries.


ireland island


Ethnographic research


Journey mapping


Trauma simulation


Research validation


Identified pain points

pain points 2

How might we ...

better support the flow of information
 between clinical teams that first treat a trauma patient coming into hospital?

The prototypes

The smart board

– Designed to provide live information.

Currently, ED Nurses urgently broadcast major trauma cases via pagers. Instead of repeating themselves via broadcast and whiteboard notes, live transcription onto interactive whiteboards can save time and reduce stress. It ensures accurate medication recording during handover, minimizing errors and misinformation. 

Trauma bay set-up

– Designed to guide in physical space.

By reimagining the Trauma Bay space, it is now more considerate of staff placement to encourage better communication and patient access. Projected lighting from the ceiling will highlight the specific areas staff can position themselves to ensure 360° access and minimal time wasting.

Digital screen aid

– Designed to align the Trauma team. 

The screen not only displays the patient’s vital signs but also provides injury photos by paramedics taken at the scene and emergency guidance for staff regardless of their position in the space. It could potentially be used to facilitate sharing hospital records like imaging and test results in one accessible platform.

The impact

It is predicted that these handwriting-free interventions can save an average of 10 minutes per major trauma case in preparation for the patient. This time can be reinvested into patient care to ensure the best possible health for the patient.

Projects like these help us to visualise the future of healthcare.

— Ùna Cunningham, Mater trauma centre projects

The response from clinical staff was extremely positive which led Mater Transformation to develop the solution further and secure the ‘HSE Spark Innovation Fund’ to finance the next phase of testing. 


Process overview

project timeline 2

SDN Award 2023

As professional service designers, we don’t always have the opportunity to do the things that the students have achieved in just five weeks.

— Brian Gillespie, Leaderhsip @ Service Design Network

The project was awarded as ‘Best Student Project 2023’ by the Global Service Design Network. My team partner and I were able to present the process and results of this project to a broad design community at the Global Service Design Conference live on stage in Berlin.

© Linda Klotzbach 2024

© Linda Klotzbach 2023

© Linda Klotzbach 2024