Monday, March 17, 2008

Use of medical devices by hospital staff under scanner

Medical device ergonomics under scrutiny ...

"The death of two newborns in incubators at hospitals in Delhi and Ahmedabad last week has raised questions over safety of patients seeking medication through various medical devices. Incidentally, the recent study of usability issues of medical devices in intensive care unit (ICU) in some hospitals in and around city has revealed serious deficiencies of life supporting devices and its usage.

“The issue of usability of medical equipment in hospitals across the country is very serious. The initial study has revealed that there is need to impart training of using medical devices to the assistive staff along with designing of devices,” said Ganesh Bhutkar, assistant professor at Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT) who is pursuing PhD in medical usability.

... “The issues raised in the study are common, but might be prevalent in the small hospitals,” he said, adding, the hospitals need to insist on training of its staff by manufacturers of the medical devices. The misuse of the device can lead to fatality and it should be a must to improve the medical usability of devices, he said.

Bhutkar's research guide Katre said the usage of devices should take into account the local needs of the hospitals and its employees considering the proficiency of the assistive staff. "The instructions should be given on usage in local language and should include graphical symbol for easy understanding."

The study and observations show major scope for enhancing the medical devices from usability perspective. Considering the life criticality and the impact of design on users like ICU patients, sisters and physicians, the proposed enhancements must be accorded highest priority, Bhutkar concludes.

His findings of survey have been published in Journal of HCI Vistas and will soon feature in the journal, Ergonomics Australia. The research paper “Ergonomic Issues of Computer Based Products Used in Intensive Care Unit” was also presented at the Conference on Humanizing Work and Work Environment (HWWE) 2007 in Bhopal."    (Continued via    [Ergonomics Resources]

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