Reducing Error in Critical Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the whole world by surprise and caused an acute, and possibly chronic, impact on all our lives. It has, in particular, highlighted our huge reliance on the health professionals who take care of us. It is in this moment of greatest need that we may have to place our lives in the hands of the healthcare system.

Soon after the UK went into lockdown, the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF) formed a COVID-19 task force to support the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).  The Keil Centre volunteered and became a key contributor for a number of urgent tasks that required specific human factors expertise.

The first task was the development of guidance to aid the usability testing of new ventilator systems.

 The guidance was developed to assist manufacturers with testing of vital frontline ventilator systems. It was focused on helping them meet the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) requirements specification.

 The overriding aim of the testing protocol is to reduce the potentially fatal effects of use errors.

 The guidance was presented and adopted by engineering companies involved in the rapid deployment of ventilators to the NHS.

 You can find the guidance here.

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The second task was the development of a Bedside Guide for Ventilator Emergency Care for COVID-19 patients. The Keil Centre worked as a small team in conjunction with other human factors professionals in the NHS and academia.

The purpose of the emergency bedside guide is to provide health and social care teams with critical information when caring for patients on ventilators during the COVID crisis.

 The action cards will be kept at the patient bedside to aid clinicians with varying degrees of experience with ventilators.

 You can find the guidance here.

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The third task was to develop guidance to help design effective and usable work procedures more generally.  The Keil Centre was on the review panel for this guidance.

The purpose of the guidance is to provide health and social care teams with information and advice on the human-centred design of work procedures, such as written instructions, check lists or flow charts, during the COVID-19 crisis.

Safer and clearer procedures help to avoid human error and aid efficient and rapid action. The aim is to reduce risks to staff, patients, carers and others.

You can access the guidance here.

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The NHS is a centre of clinical excellence, but these are extraordinary times with extraordinary pressures and different circumstances. Having equipment and work procedures that enable error-free and efficient performance can simply be the difference between life and death. The Keil Centre has been proud to support our precious frontline services while they help the most acutely affected people in this crisis. 

For further information, please contact Janette Edmonds

Some of our clients include:

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