Where errors can be fatal, lab works out the kinks

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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