Designing a hospital bed space that will reduce common medical errors

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Intravenous news: The BBC report “Surgeons and designers have worked together to build a new type of hospital bed space that they hope will reduce common medical errors. “Amazingly enough, one in 10 patients who go into hospital in the UK suffer some kind of unintended harm,” says Prof Myerson, principal investigator. Visitors at the Royal College of Surgeons can see equipment designed to make surgical wards safer. The Designing Out Medical Error (DOME) exhibition runs until 4 February 2011.

Clinicians, engineers, designers, psychologists, and business experts worked on the three-year-long project, taking advice from the construction, mining and shipping industries too. The first step was to spend several hundred hours observing everyday process in three hospitals. “The majority of errors happen on surgical wards. In spite of being highly frequent, it is an area that is missed in research,” says George Hanna, professor of surgical sciences and DOME lead clinician. Surveying staff and patients they identified five areas where errors were most likely to be made. Preventing infections from spreading between patients, cleaning hands properly, giving out medication, handing-over information between staff on different shifts and the monitoring of vital signs were key areas of concern.”

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