My group mates and I have done extensive research over the past few weeks into current service systems in hospitals, current products used in hospitals, and everything in-between. At the bottom of this post you'll find a list of most of the sources we've looked at for information, many of them being great journal articles and reviews. I recommend that you read them if you've got the time.
Things we discovered from research include that ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is today becoming more and more recognised amongst hospital staff as a real problem, and it stems from lack of oral hygiene for patients during their stay. A patient recovering in a hospital bed who doesn't brush his teeth for several days or weeks, for example (usually because they are heavily medicated and nurses aren't trained to emphasise oral care as an issue) can lead to respiratory infections and worse. Simply put, bad oral hygiene is the gateway to a slew of other problems in the human body, and is even linked to heart disease by some studies. We've found estimates that VAP can cost a hospital $40,000 more per patient because of resultant problems, something that can be avoided simply by motivating nurses to care more about patient dental care and put effort towards it. Check out this source of information for the bigger picture: http://www.sageproducts.com/company/media2.asp?ArticleID=70§ion=Case%20Studies
As a result of this research, we tried to design some good products that could motivate nurses to keep a dental cleaning schedule and actually care about oral hygiene of recovering patients, but there wasn't really an opportunity for a product service system, there, so we looked at other options.
Also included in our research is a variety of places with room for improvement not just in hospitals but in many other parts of society, such as airlines with air plane food systems, the top food sanitation problems in restaurants, and grocery stores that have to keep food cold at regulated temperatures.
It's neat to look at how far we've come (the first of our research is toward the bottom and the latest is toward the top). We started looking at things like Japanese robot assistants in grocery stores and "HoverRound" and "Scooter Store" product service systems relating to adult day care, and since then we've come all the way to designing mobile information systems for nurses in hospitals.
Check out the "Visual Diary" post that was posted right before this one, and you can see how the visual diary sketches correlate to the research links here.