PhD Program in Design


Symbolic Qualification of Complex Systems and Products

Design as a symbolic qualifier in the design of complex systems/products:
INEM Basic Life Support Ambulance (BLS)

Augusto de Sousa Coelho
Supervisor: Vasco Branco


The study aims to build a conceptual framework reference to inform a re-design of an INEM BLS ambulance, which will be validated through a practice-led project. The Basic Life Support Ambulance is used by INEM (Portuguese National Institute of Medical Emergency) to attend over than 90% of emergency calls. Within the Basic Life Support Ambulance, this research study focuses on the health cell, the area of the vehicle in which patient assistance, stabilization and transport occur, as well as interaction between medical equipment, clinical personnel and patients. The methods selected for this study are framed within the qualitative paradigm with elements of quantitative data, specifically across ethnographic research with participant observation, interviews and surveys, which will form the basis of the study. This work will establish cooperation with the industry, to producing a new vehicle prototype and validate the conceptual framework.

Medical Emergency; INEM Ambulance; Interaction; Usability; Co-design; Industrial design.

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