Novel displays of patient information in critical care settings: a systematic review

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2019 May 1;26(5):479-489. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocy193.


Objective: Clinician information overload is prevalent in critical care settings. Improved visualization of patient information may help clinicians cope with information overload, increase efficiency, and improve quality. We compared the effect of information display interventions with usual care on patient care outcomes.

Materials and methods: We conducted a systematic review including experimental and quasi-experimental studies of information display interventions conducted in critical care and anesthesiology settings. Citations from January 1990 to June 2018 were searched in PubMed and IEEE Xplore. Reviewers worked independently to screen articles, evaluate quality, and abstract primary outcomes and display features.

Results: Of 6742 studies identified, 22 studies evaluating 17 information displays met the study inclusion criteria. Information display categories included comprehensive integrated displays (3 displays), multipatient dashboards (7 displays), physiologic and laboratory monitoring (5 displays), and expert systems (2 displays). Significant improvement on primary outcomes over usual care was reported in 12 studies for 9 unique displays. Improvement was found mostly with comprehensive integrated displays (4 of 6 studies) and multipatient dashboards (5 of 7 studies). Only 1 of 5 randomized controlled trials had a positive effect in the primary outcome.

Conclusion: We found weak evidence suggesting comprehensive integrated displays improve provider efficiency and process outcomes, and multipatient dashboards improve compliance with care protocols and patient outcomes. Randomized controlled trials of physiologic and laboratory monitoring displays did not show improvement in primary outcomes, despite positive results in simulated settings. Important research translation gaps from laboratory to actual critical care settings exist.

Keywords: clinical decision support systems; critical care; data display; electronic medical record; health information systems; information display; review; user-computer interface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesiology
  • Clinical Laboratory Information Systems
  • Critical Care*
  • Data Display*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Expert Systems
  • Humans
  • User-Computer Interface*