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Safer Human-Computer Interaction for Healthcare

Improving computerised devices used in healthcare can reduce preventable deaths

Research into the mistakes clinicians make when using computerised medical devices, and analysis of the computerised devices themselves, has shown that much death and harm are preventable with refined theory, training and design. The Swansea University team looking into Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) found that patient harm can be reduced by ensuring systems are more resilient to human error.

Led by Professor Thimbleby and funded by EPSRC, work by the team highlights that around 10% of deaths due to preventable errors in hospitals are likely to be computer mistakes, and the resulting complications and increased hospital stays are estimated to cost the NHS over £600m per annum. One example of the impact of the team’s research is a tool they developed that can find and help eliminate some sources of drug dose error.

The research has attracted the attention of international decision-makers, clinicians, manufacturers, and regulators, with one, the leading US Food and Drug Administration now in the process of trialling their tool and co-authoring papers with the team.

“I presented a session at a clinical risk conference yesterday in London and used [your video] and it went down a storm…The feedback was excellent and I’ve already received requests from other people.” Devices Manager, NHS Health Board

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