Where errors can be fatal, lab works out the kinks

January 30, 2008

Hospital-based centre puts medical devices to the test through simulations with real doctors and nurses

The Globe and Mail featured an article in December, 2007 highlighting the work of University Health Network’s Healthcare Human Factors Group, specifically their two-year collaboration with Smiths Medical to develop a user-friendly “smart” pump-infusion system.

The UHN is an umbrella institution comprised of three hospitals -Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret. Its Human Factors Group is housed in a new $6-million facility, began operating less than three years ago and has quickly become what is believed to be the world’s largest hospital-based human-factors research centre.  Human factors analysis, also called ergonomics or usability testing, is the term describing the linkage between a technology and its ease of operation.

They saw a video of professional nurses who fumbled when asked to change the medication and the dosage on a machine.  They pressed several buttons on the infusion pump but nothing started the change procedure.  Then they were called away by an emergency alarm when they returned to the (simulated) patient, they could not remember where they were in the process.

Smith Medical saw the video and they were mortified.  This led to an extensive two-year collaboration between the company and the UHN centre to develop a user-friendly “smart” pump-infusion system.

Read this article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071204.wsrinnotesting04/BNStory/Technology/

Comments on this group’s work or other new medical devices?

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UPCOMING EVENT: Beyond the Human Genome Sequence: 4th Annual SBN Career Expo & Conference

January 26, 2008

You are invited to attend the 4th Annual Student Biotechnology Network Career Expo & Conference. This would be good networking opportunity for those undergraduates looking for a career in the sciences outside of generic laboratory work.

Date: Wed. February 13, 2008

Time: 4:45-9:00 PM

Location: Westin Bayshore, 1601 Bayshore Dr, Vancouve, B.C.

 

About SBN:

The Student Biotechnology Network is a not-for-profit organization that provides an autonomous forum for students to discuss and explore interests and opportunities relating to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The network brings together students from a diverse range of departments and professional schools relating to biotechnology, including the life sciences, engineering, commerce, law and the arts. The network represents the interests of its student members to the university and to those groups in the community that will determine the future of biotechnology in this region.

The Career Expo and Conference offers a mix of both educational seminars and exposure to over 75 industry representatives from 25 participating organizations. Throughout the event, students will be able to visit booths from local and international biotech companies, government organizations and academic institutions.

For more information and to register please visit the SBN website.


Medfusion Back from Hiatus

January 23, 2008

Dear friends,

As many of you may be aware, Medfusion@UBC has been on a lengthy hiatus during the past year. We apologize to our readership for the sudden break in updates. During the beginning of term in September our former president moved on to a wonderful new career in the health care sector in Victoria. Unfortunately, we’ve since taken quite awhile in updating our exec. roster to reflect this change, sorting through the necessary paperwork, and reviewing our current direction for the term.

We are happy now to announce the return of Medfusion@UBC. For those interested, please visit the ‘About Us’ Section to read more about our club, the UBC Medical Informatics Association. Also, be sure to visit for weekly updates and sign up on our mailing list for monthly newsletters. And lastly, thanks to all our members and readers for their continued support.