To get the safest—and not just the cheapest—devices, the NHS needs to start taking ergonomics seriously, experts say.
In March 2020, the UK government commissioned non-medical manufacturers, including Dyson and Renault, to produce ventilators for the excess number of patients expected to have respiratory failure as a result of COVID-19. Because the machines would be used by non-specialist clinicians during the pandemic, NHS England commissioned guidance1 on ergonomic (also known as human factors) design of the ventilators, aimed at achieving “optimum human safety and performance.”
However, the commissioning of the ventilator guidance remains an exception rather than the rule. There are, however, signs that the NHS is starting to take human factors seriously—and COVID-19 is a driver.