This study examines patients in the waiting room of a Geriatrics ward focusing on the patient's focus of attention. Determining what the patients are focusing on tells us how they are interacting within their environment. If a patient is engaged in a conversation their attention is on the person they are having it with. The Result is the formation a hypothesis of the state the patients are in, such as, being bored or stimulated by there environment. Using this we can determine the effectiveness of introducing a source of entertainment into the system.
Sitting in the waiting room of the Geriatrics ward for a half an hour nine people came and went, six of which are presumed to be patients. When I entered the room their were two patients already in the room, one of them looked up quickly. The other was in a electric wheel sitting quietly in front of the receptionist's desk, she sat looking at her hands folded in her lap as if she was zoning out. The other sat across from her, strangely just as quiet, her focus changed a lot, looking at the door leading into the doctors office occupationally letting her focus wonder to the walls and posters in the room and also to the observers.
Ten minutes later two more people entered the room, one was an older women the other a middle aged man. As the new people entered the patient not in the wheel chair was taken in and the new people sat in the same place. They sat looking at each other whispering quietly in another language. A minute later an older man strolled in heading to the receptionist; he engaged in a conversation with her inquiring why his prescription wasn't filled yet.
Until this point the state of the room stayed unchanged with the exception of an occupationally glance at the observers, then the women in the wheel chair pulled out a cell phone and called someone from her contact list. For the first time the a patient looked at the kiosk, the new women looked over at it as if she was trying to figure out what it did since the screen was off.
About five minutes later, the man finishes his conversation with the receptionist and walks out. Immediately following this two women come out of the doctors office, one of the in a wheel chair, the other looked twenty years younger. They spoke with the receptionist and received a clipboard full of forms, then proceeded to fill out the forms silently at the desk. They were the first to talk to each other without whispering, the younger women asked a few medical questions from the form then made a new appointment and left.
Another five minutes go by and the women in the wheel chair is taken in and replaced by a older women wheeled in by two middle age women, the women in the wheel chair is left in front of use and glances around the room taking in her surrounds as the other two talk to the receptionist. After checking in the two women move the older women to the far side of the room where all the other patients sat. The old women was still fidgety, glancing around trying to find something to focus on. One of the middle age women watched the older women and the other was curiously looking over the kiosk. Within two minutes they were taken in by the doctor, now the room is completely empty.
Every patient quickly moved in and out of the waiting room making it extremely hard to interview any of them.
The participates of this study had similar experiences with their interactions. They separated themselves from their environment ignoring artifacts around them. This suggests that they were nervous or scared of the upcoming interaction with the doctor and/or the environment they were exposed to. For example, the older women that came in with a middle aged man only interacted with the man straying for interacting with any foreign artifacts such as posters, magazines or people. One of the major interactions was the two women filling out a form. The younger of the two who filled out a medical form pulling information from memory along with asking the older women about the state of her condition to answer the questions. An important interaction was between one of the younger participants and the kiosk. She studied the kiosk trying to pull information about what is it, however she never got close enough to interact with it the way it was designed to be interacted with.
The participants did not pay any attention to the artifacts around them in the waiting room. They didn't have the motivation to explore their environment, they didn't even give any attention to the magazines covering the table. The participants either only focused on people they came in with or lost focus and became lost in thought. It can't be determined if the participants are content with this situation with the lack of an interview. However, with the wait time only being a few minutes long obstructing the able to have an interview it's unlikely that they experienced boredom. If the participants did experience boredom, then it wasn't enough to break the ice and get them to start interacting with things around them. If we introduced a source of entertainment, such as a video game, it would need to catch people's attention and start the interaction. It would need to be easy to pick up and be instantly stimulated because the wait time can be as small as a minute and be able to engage the user for a extended period of time.
Brown: front desk