• Hospitals are rarely quiet. Every hour, you have to make dozens of decisions about which patient needs to see which clinician.

    Hark website

  • The Challenge

    Across an average hospital, thousands of clinical tasks are requested everyday. Currently, such tasks are routinely communicated through outdated technologies like pagers that make it very difficult to effectively manage, prioritise and audit activity.

    Hospital night-shift teams work across multiple wards making it very difficult to manage clinical tasks using pagers alone. Many inefficiencies arise through uneven task delegation meaning patient safety could be improved.

    The night shift in a major hospital may bring many unexpected challenges such as rapidly deteriorating patients, or new admissions that need the attention of doctors.

    In this project, designers shadowed junior doctors on their night shifts to see with fresh eyes the challenges of communicating with your colleagues as the events of a typical night in a busy hospital unfolded.


  • Doctors can easily receive a message on their pager every few minutes with requests to see patients on multiple wards.

    Dr Dominic King

  • In pilot studies at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust we’ve shown it can improve information transfer within clinical teams in 22 out of 24 key areas of your hospital. Our tests also prove Hark response times are 37% quicker than a pager.

    Hark Website

  • The Solution

    This project was led by Dr Dominic King, the founding clinical lead of the Helix Centre.

    Hark is a smartphone based platform that uses the full capabilities of the devices already in the pockets of doctors throughout the NHS.

    Hark is a research driven solution that provides a task management and collaboration platform delivered over mobile devices. It enables clinicians to escalate a task to a central list, allowing the task to be delegated to a qualified and available colleague. Hark also allows tasks to be prioritised by urgency, makes sharing of clinical data easier and allows performance to be evaluated through an audit trail.

    Hark was tested through simulation within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and supported by published research that showed that it could improve response time to task completion and therefore impact positively on patient safety.

  • Hark was acquired by DeepMind for further development and integration into a new product called Streams aiming at identifying rapid deterioration in inpatients. Streams will go live at Imperial College NHS Trust in Autumn 2017.

  • Improving performance through integration and analytics

    A platform such as Hark has the ability to deliver crucial information about the patient directly to the attending doctor at the time it is needed. Through integration with the hospital's electronic patient record system, a task on Hark can also provide vital statistics and medical history for the patient to the doctor as he approaches the patient. 

    Data such as number of admissions and length of stay is easy to collect but difficult to act on. Hark gives you an insight into baseline activity way beyond traditional systems. You’ll be able to tap into advanced analytics algorithms to individually tailor every task to every patient’s need.

    Furthermore, with current solutions it is very difficult to assess and improve the performance of a team in terms of how well distributed tasks are, and how long they take to complete. Hark offers a wealth of information that can be harnessed to improve the efficiency and safety of a hospital, including the well-being of the staff.