Center for Design in Health
The mission of the Center for Design in Health is to foster excellence in human factors systems design, with an emphasis on designing work processes to facilitate better performance and on designing technology to enhance work processes. We go beyond problem description—we solve problems by generating innovative design solutions that facilitate better performance.
A central goal of the Center is to generate cutting edge research fostered by interdisciplinary collaboration with others working in health-related design. The Center focuses on bringing researchers working in process design, medical technology, architecture, landscape architecture, and clothing design together to create forward-thinking systems solutions to health-related problems.
Kathleen A. Harder, PhD
Current and past work ranges from designing elements of stand-alone procedures to an entire redesign of processes that permeate a system. Examples are briefly summarized below:
- Systematically analyzing and suggesting recommendations for redesigning electronic medical records systems to complement the needs of health care practitioners—to ease their work flow rather than hinder it.
- Assessing and redesigning stand-alone practices such as (1) the administration of heparin, and (2) assisting in the development of a Code Caesarean-Section policy.
- Focusing on elements of complex procedures such as (1) an analysis and redesign of the OR (operating room) count process to prevent unintentionally retained foreign objects following surgery, and (2) a focus on specimen handling procedures in ORs.
- Investigating and redesigning the work flow on patient care units, with a focus on implementing effective and efficient patient care and minimizing medication errors.
- Systematically analyzing and redesigning hospital-wide procedures and the technology used in those procedures—an example is our work with the Blood Bank where we are investigating the process of blood administration, with a focus on ensuring that patients receive the correct blood components.
- Assessing product design and functionality as consultants in an IV pump selection process employing usability testing of front line staff and other analyses.
- Assisting a consortium of health care organizations from across the state [Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI)] to design two protocols: one for developing a rigorous and reliable count process for use in hospital ORs to prevent unintentionally retained foreign objects (e.g, sponges and sharps) following surgery and the other to prevent retained foreign objects following vaginal delivery. The resulting protocols have been recommended for implementation in hospitals across the state of Minnesota.
- A systematic analysis of the safe site surgery process at eight different hospital facilities across Minnesota. Recommendations have been made to make the safe surgery process more rigorous, reliable, and effective so that the right patient gets the right surgical procedure at the correct anatomical site. The Joint Commission is allowing the recommended safe surgery process to be piloted in Minnesota hospitals.