Design is a structured process for identifying problems and developing and evaluating user-focussed solutions. It has been successfully used to transform products, services, systems and even entire organisations. Based on the extensive experience of the aviation, military and nuclear industries, it is clear that effective design thinking can facilitate the delivery of products, services, processes and environments that are intuitive, simple to understand, simple to use, convenient, comfortable and consequently less likely to lead to error and accidents. Confusing, complex and unwieldy designs, which are all too often present in healthcare, are at best less effective than they could be. At worst, they are potentially dangerous to medical staff or the patient - or both. The contribution of design to improving safety in the context of medical systems is an area which remains relatively unexplored.
This scoping review is a joint report from the Robens Centre for Health Ergonomics at the University of Surrey; The Helen Hamlyn Research Centre at the Royal College of Art; and The Cambridge Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge to identify how the effective use of design could help to reduce medical accidents.
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