Development and user-experience evaluation of a paging and location-tracking system for management of patient flow in outpatient clinics

Dominik Edl

Master Digital Healthcare, St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences 2023

Aim and Research Question(s)

The thesis has the purpose of developing a wearable prototype allowing to call and location-track patients that makes use of recent technical advances and evaluating its feasibility in an outpatient setting. The pivotal questions are:

  • Literature Review: Does the use of such systems paging function increase satisfaction in the patient population of an outpatient clinics waiting room?
  • Prototype Development: Is the development of a system that combines managing, location-tracking and calling of patients through wireless-wearables feasible in regards to cost, tracking-accuracy and battery-life?
  • User-Experience Testing: Does such a system meet the User-Experience requirements of the healthcare professionals that are intended to operate it?


Being in a hospital’s waiting room is a stressful situation for most people. In addition to the illness one may face, the situation creates stress by not allowing to move freely for the fear of missing one’s call [1]. From a healthcare professionals’ perspective, waiting room management is an additional burden one has to carry, while attending the primary task of care [2].


A systematic literature review is performed in order to answer the question of patient’s satisfaction with patient-paging systems. A prototype is developed using machine-learning and cost effective SoC hardware. It combines the paging-, as well as location-tracking function into a single system, which both are evaluated regarding cost, accuracy, and battery life. The user experience of nurses using the systems interface is assessed via the User-Experience-Questionnaire.

Results and Discussion

The literature research shows that eight out of nine trials analyzing the topic present high satisfaction of patients using a patient-paging system. The prototype evaluation shows a cost of $165.60 per tracked asset, a tracking-accuracy of 86.6% and a battery life of four hours. The user-experience evaluation yielded the highest score of “Excellent” for the UEQ benchmark used. Further, anecdotal evidence gathered during testing shows health professionals expressing a highly positive attitude towards the concept of a patient-paging and location tracking system for use in an outpatient clinic.


Patients are shown to be satisfied with a paging system according to existing literature and health professionals are satisfied with use of the prototype’s functionality, while the prototype itself performed well in regards to cost, accuracy, and battery life. This is robust evidence for the need, usefulness and feasibility of a patient-paging and location tracking system for outpatient clinics in this non-clinical evaluation. For further research though, it will not be purely academic effort that is required in relation to the topic, but rather a near-or actual commercial solution will need to be developed, to then be deployed and subsequently evaluated again in an academic context in the future.


[1] R. Hoot, „Systematic review of emergency department crowding: causes, effects, and solutions“, Ann Emerg Med, Bd. 52, Nr. 2, S. 126–136, Aug. 2008 [2] P.-Y. Yen u. a., „Nurses’ Time Allocation and Multitasking of Nursing Activities“, AMIA Annu Symp Proc, Bd. 2018, S. 1137–1146, Dez. 2018.