This report identifies opportunities to use design to improve patient safety in the NHS. It describes the safety challenge facing the NHS and outlines a design-led approach to reducing errors and accidents. In addition, it sets out a series of research-based recommendations and actions. The report also contains a government response to the research findings.
The key issues concerned with developing knowledge, systems and processes to provide a basis for effective design decision-making.
The main conclusions of the study were that:
- The NHS is out of step with modern thinking and practice with regard to design.
- There was cause to question the design of medical devices, products, packaging and information, and the way that the NHS uses design.
- Single design initiatives must be seen in the context of the ‘big picture’ of the healthcare system and the way it impacts on patient safety and risk management.
- The NHS should aim to achieve ‘big picture’ thinking as soon as possible.
The recommendations and suggested projects described in the report provide a framework to achieve a systems-based, user-centred approach to healthcare design for the NHS, where the opportunity for errors can be designed out before accidents occur.
The report is available from the Department of Health.