Call for Pictures of Good/Poor design in Healthcare

//Call for Pictures of Good/Poor design in Healthcare

Call for Pictures of Good/Poor design in Healthcare

Pictorial Guide for Human Factors in Healthcare

Dear friends, colleagues and supporters,

Healthcare human factors & ergonomics work has often focused on cognitive and social interventions (CRM, NOTECH’s etc) rather than issues of design.  Healthcare systems provide plenty of examples of poor design, such as the packaging & storage of drugs, non-standardised infusion pumps, anaesthetic machines with critical switches unguarded and not alarmed etc.  I know that you all see this in practice every day in your working environments and we want to raise awareness of the issue.

The CHFG have been very lucky to receive sponsorship from a group of Sixth Form pupils at the school attended and prompted by my daughter Victoria, who is now 17 years old.  A number of those pupils are looking to move into healthcare careers and this has inspired us to develop a new resource that will reach out to a broad range of people across healthcare, especially those new to the science of human factors and its potential impact on success or failure.

We are looking to produce a pictorial guide with minimal words (except perhaps labels) aimed at providing examples of good and poor design to create direct and memorable awareness of the problem.

To this end we are seeking your help.  We need:

  • photographs of both good and poor design that you come across in your every day work.
  • a short summary of what the picture is and why you believe it is good/poor design.
  • permission to use this picture in our guide and there must be no logos or ways of identifying the source from the photo (if needed we could blank out anything that might do so).  We won’t include names of those who’ve submitted unless you’d like us to add it to the back (but not relatable to the photo).

Examples as seen below where two critical safety pressure gauges which are colour coded correctly but are in different positions, on two otherwise identical machines bought at the same time, from the same manufacturer. Plus the ubiquitous picture of the light switch.

We’re are aware that there are some wonderful examples of simple design, such as blue pillow cases in some wards to identify patients with dementia and the vital signs trolley designed by the Dome Project, any examples like these would also be gratefully received.

Healthcare will not make significant gains in human factors work until systems and design make it easy to do the right thing, please help us to raise awareness by sending your pictures to us by the 31st May 2017.
You can send your pictures to help us raise awareness #HFHelporHinder
Best wishes
Martin Bromiley OBE
Chair, Clinical Human Factors Group

By | 2018-04-26T09:56:46+00:00 27th April, 2017|Featured|2 Comments


  1. Sandy coutts 24th May 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Why are hospital documents & charts different in every hospital, state, country?
    A count sheet in operating theatres could be generically the same where ever you work. Consent forms could be identical in every country. Drug charts could be the same and accepted world wide.
    Why do we allow local rules to make changes to these common documents?

  2. Nick Butler 31st May 2017 at 1:37 pm


    I agree, but as a former hospital pharmacist who was involved in trying to design a regional drug chart on more than one occasion clinicians are very resistant to change in documentation that they are familiar with. Wales has set a good example with a national drug chart but efforts in England have failed.

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