USA research trip: San Francisco, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Houston

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: College of Science


The design of interactive medical devices is an interdisciplinary field crucial for the safe and effective treatment of patients, but current devices induce error in use (such as drug overdoses) which should be reduced and better managed. Preliminary work is promising reductions in adverse incidents (including fatalities), but careful collaborative work is essential with contributions from computer science, human factors, and clinical fields. The goal is to progress the research and to lay solid foundations for international proposals.Extending two adjacent conference trips where Thimbleby will be presenting three refereed papers is an excellent opportunity to network and develop existing relationships with international researchers at US universities (at Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and Houston). Some companies will also be visited.

Planned Impact

The immediate practical focus of the research to be supported by this proposal is the design of interactive medical devices (such as infusion pumps). Benefits in this area will impact the health sector (both health providers and industry) as well as patients. Patients will benefit in the long term by improved and safer care. However the most rapid impact may be through better-informed procurement in hospitals and by better-informed approval of devices for medical use. We have already built up high-level links with the UK National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) and plan to build similar links (though Houston) with the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).


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N/a Cairns (2009) Royal Society Interface in Reducing number entry errors

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N/a Johnson (2010) HCI in hospital beds