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Our research - about our work

We are focusing on the interaction between people and medical devices. The devices provide a common focus for all strands of our research. We are studying the device design, human cognition (particularly focusing on errors), and the situations in which devices are used: hospitals and homes. We are developing methods to support better design and procurement decisions, and we are engaging with stakeholders to change culture and practices where possible.

Understanding context
Our first research aim is to gain a deep understanding of the rich context in which the key players work, whether nurses, doctors, patients, procurement staff or device designers. Promising solutions to problems identified will be evaluated in context. Our research will therefore be based on a dialogue with clinicians, manufacturers, policy makers, procurement staff, patients and others.

Understanding people
In a second strand of research we are conducting laboratory experiments to understand why people make mistakes. What are the underlying cognitive causes of different kinds of errors and which solutions are most effective? For example, an early CHI+MED project is looking at the ability of people to resume what they were doing after being interrupted. We have shown that people are more likely to resume at the correct point if they take a few seconds to look at the interface rather than resuming quickly.

CHI+MED Projects

We have initiated a series of projects that are already delivering results both in terms of the basic science and its useful application. They are organised into the four major themes of CHI+MED: clinical situations, device design, cognition and stakeholders.

Clinical situations

We are gaining a deep understanding of the situations and environments in which medical devices are used, whether in hospital or home settings. We will then build on this understanding by exploring ways to support doctors, nurses and patients to avoid and recover from errors.

Understanding the way medical devices are really used

Device Design

We also need to understand the ways in which the design of a device can help people avoid making errors. Good device design can also help people 'undo' an error they've made before a problem arises.

Designing medical devices for safer use

Cognition

Understanding the cognitive processes behind human error

  • Understanding Interruptions
    What are the cognitive (thinking) processes that underlie successful and unsuccessful recovery from interruptions?

Designing the whole system to be safer

Formal methods for safer use of medical devices

Stakeholders

Understanding why devices are the way they are

  • Understanding the pressures on device manufacturers
    What are the pressures on manufacturers who design medical devices?