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The Interactive Ward Round Table – A Cognitive Interface for the Integration of Multiple Documents in Medical Team Meetings

LabMultimodal Interaction
FundingLeibniz-WissenschaftsCampus „Cognitive Interfaces”, IWM budget resources 
Project description

In the daily ward round physicians use several documents for the optimal treatment of a patient. Medical information systems support this process. However, they are typically not optimized to integrate different information sources into one coherent overall picture. The aim of this project was to develop and implement a new cognitive interface to support physicians in their cognitive processes when working with multiple documents in the daily ward round.

Example screenshot of the interface: simultaneous presentation of multiple documents that can be arranged freely in size and position, but remain always assigned to the zoomable timeline.

The preparation of the daily ward round is a demanding task for a medical team: Multiple different documents such as indications, laboratory results, reports, doctor letters, radiology images, etc. have to be integrated into decisions about the diagnoses and treatments for each patient. Medical information systems play a central role in this process. They provide access to hundreds of medical documents. However, only a few documents can be discussed within the available time for each patient. Yet, medical information systems typically are not optimized to separate relevant from irrelevant documents and to integrate several sources of information into a coherent whole. Moreover, they typically are single-user applications.

In the present project we aimed at designing and implementing a new cognitive interface that supports medical experts in their cognitive processes related to reading, evaluating, and integrating multiple documents when preparing for and conducting ward rounds. Specifically, we aimed at developing an interactive multi-touch table interface on which multiple documents can be simultaneously displayed and compared. Implemented as a multi-user application with intuitive multi-touch movements such as rotating, sliding or zooming, our system also offers opportunities for group discussions during ward round preparation. In three lab experiments we tested core features of the cognitive interface and respective assumptions. Additionally, in a usability study the new prototype was compared with a standard system currently in use at the Medical University Clinic Tübingen.

Link to the video project presentation


Prof. Dr. med. Michael Bitzer, Medical Clinic Tübingen


Leroy, C., Gerjets, P., Oestermeier, U., & Kammerer, Y. (in press). Simultaneous presentation of multiple documents and text-highlighting: Online integrative processes and offline integrated understanding. Scientific Studies of Reading. doi:

Leroy, C., Kammerer, Y., Oestermeier, U., Büringer, K., Bitzer, M., Hornuff, S., Gerjets, P. (in press).The Interactive Ward Round Table: A Cognitive User Interface for Multi-Touch Tables to Support Clinical Diagnosis. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Healthcare Informatics (ICHI).

Leroy, C., Kammerer, Y., Oestermeier, U., Büringer, K., Bitzer, M., & Gerjets, P. (2019). Inferential Reasoning Driving Clinical Diagnosis: Suggestions for New Assessment Approaches. Proceedings of the 32nd IEEE International Symposium on Computer Based Medical Systems (CBMS) (pp. 551-554). IEEE.