Tag Archives: health care

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HFES 2015 Keynote Address John Nance

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For the remainder of the week we will be featuring post from the HFES 2015 Annual Meeting.

This year’s keynote will be presented by John Nance during the Tuesdaymorning Opening Plenary Session. Nance is a well-known advocate of using the lessons from the recent revolution in aviation safety to revolutionize the patient safety performance of hospitals, doctors, nurses, and others within the health-care domain. His talk, entitled “The Carbon-Based Conundrum,” will deal with the concept that it is only through accepting the inevitability of error that we can eliminate human-caused disasters. As
Nance puts it, “The key to zero disasters is zero denial.”

Pills and Pill Bottle

Medication Lists

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For our design innovation theme, I wanted to present an interesting idea called the Twinlist and open up the floor for some discussion of whether this approach is promising.

Comparing two long lists of any kind is always a challenge. For example, you may have experienced the difficulty of reconciling a bank or credit card statement when comparing the list with your personal tally of transactions. In healthcare the challenge is even more daunting when physicians have to maintain an up-to-date list of a patient’s medications, compare the medications taken at home with the ones taken during a hospital stay, and rapidly put together a new list.

Biograph for CT scans

Medical Device Usability

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The prevalence of medical errors and the difficulty of using medical devices are such common complaints among health care providers and patients that I won’t bore you with the usual statistics. I think we all know these are grand challenges for the HF/E profession. But a look back at a 2012 article in User Experience magazine by Shannon Clark and Ed Israelski reminded me of how little progress we seem to be making. They share a few famous health care human factors stories that we see in the mass media whenever there is a major incident, but then fade into the background when the general public’s limited attention span runs its course. I was reminded of this when reviewing the program of the 2015 Human Factors in Health Care conference.

Perhaps you have heard stories of a doctor operating on or amputating the wrong limb. Even though this is an age-old problem, some medical devices cause the user to confuse the sides of the body, consequently leading to recalls of the devices. Just last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled a software system because the interface led doctors to confuse the left and right sides of the brain when evaluating patients. Imagine the consequences of this design flaw during brain surgery!

a hospital room

Environment Design for Health Care

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I have seen so many stories like this one lately that I almost can’t believe we find it surprising any more.

Equipment was installed, possible situations rehearsed. Then real patients were moved in from the surgical unit to compare old and new rooms.

The general finding (from The University Medical Center of Princeton) is that when you design hospital rooms using principles of affective cognition, industrial engineering, and social psychology, the benefits go beyond these three domains…

a simple tootbrush made of metal and hairs

The Smart Toothbrush Has Arrived

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I remember when the Reach toothbrush came out. This was the first human factors innovation in dental hygiene, at least that I can think of (I am certainly no dental historian). Prior to that, the general user-product interface has been the same since at least Napoleon. Now that we are solidly in the Internet Age, it is of course time to take toothbrushes in that direction as well. Take a look at this Kolibree toothbrush (or maybe toothbrush system?)…