Human Factors and Ergonomics: A discussion at the IEA 2018

We are pleased to announce that Dr Chris Vincent, Principal – Human Factors & Ergonomics at PDD will be delivering a speech at the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) in Florence, Italy on the 28th of August.

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Human factors for digital health

Human Factors and Ergonomics contribute towards Digital Health by providing an understanding of the healthcare system, making sure we get the right tool for the job and making sure that the tool fits and fit for purpose.

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Management of evaluations: Patients with ‘sensitive’ medical conditions

Conducting any kind of patient-centric evaluation can present numerous challenges; preparing for and conducting evaluation sessions with patients suffering from sensitive and changeable conditions (such as Alzheimer’s) can present even more complex challenges, as we found out on a study we conducted in the past year.

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Dialogue on beta testing at the Human Factors for Medical Devices workshop

Dr Chris Vincent, Human Factors & Ergonomics Principal at PDD, joined the conversation on beta testing at the Human Factors for Medical Devices workshop which took place at the Museum of London earlier this June.

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The role of a moderator in Human Factors studies…

It may sound strange to say it but the role of a moderator, in my opinion, is to be a bit of a Chameleon. And a few acting skills don’t go amiss either! Let me explain…

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Human Factors: The importance of exposure to the end user

When previously working as a design engineer for a medical device manufacturer I was not always exposed to the end user of the device I was developing. Due to the pressure on resources, time required to arrange testing or the complexity of negotiating hospital access this activity was frequently put on hold.

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Tips on how to approach medical device usability in China

What happens when usability research is conducted abroad? A team from PDD have been working closely with international manufacturing organisations to develop medical devices for the Chinese inpatient market. This means that usability research has been conducted in Chinese and reported in English. This blog explores the benefit that usability research provides when implemented across international teams and how to overcome issues that may be encountered along the way. It amalgamates our insights taken from a number of usability projects conducted in China.

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“Measuring usability”: The siren song of quantitative reasoning

How do you measure usability? How do you really measure the efficiency of interface characteristics and user satisfaction in a way that can feed opportunities to develop and innovate? As a usability consultant, it is not that uncommon to be asked to evaluate usability. Some would even go so far as to say it comes with the territory.

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Human error or use error…Make the switch!

FMEAs (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis) are a common tool used in industry by device manufacturers to help members of R&D think of risk mitigation strategies to embed within their process whilst they are in the product development stages. FMEAs traditionally focus on system/component failures that can affect the operation of a device whilst UFMEAs (User Failures Modes and Effects Analysis) are intended to help members of R&D to focus on use-related errors. The term ‘Use Error’ has recently been introduced to replace the commonly used terms ‘Human Error’ and ‘User Error’, after the need to change the term was prompted by a high number of manufacturers commonly attributing errors to the users as opposed to investing in fixing error-prone device design.

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Human Factors: The art of asking a good question

In Human Factors the art of asking a good question that is non-leading yet to the point, simple yet scenario driven, open yet has boundaries to stop people going off on a tangent, whilst trying to get the user to answer as honestly as possible sounds like a breeze doesn’t it? Think again!

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‘Just around the Vend’ – Human Factors and Usability of Vending Machines

As a human factors and usability consultant I talk about usability a lot, unfortunately – but also understandably – most people do not share my enthusiasm; that is, until I apply it to something they find absolutely infuriating. This can range from tin openers to a local council website, whatever it may be it puts the problem in context. There’s one particular product that I find most people have a problem with, a product that irritates me so much that I will join in any conversation involving it. Admittedly there aren’t very many of these conversations, but they’re almost always focused on the criticism of usability; let’s see if you agree.

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Brainsex – What do you think?

A recent trip to an evening of short-talks hosted by The Future Laboratory at the suggestion of a colleague resulted in me being utterly transfixed for six minutes by Dr Anne Moir. The subject? Brainsex!

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Planes to Pains: Human factors taking off in healthcare

When I graduated with a BSc in Ergonomics (Human Factors Design) in 2011, it was clear that the subject is neither widely known nor greatly recognised, in fact I am constantly corrected that I did Economics at University. However, it was also apparent that certain industries placed great value in the area I had studied for three years; these were mainly energy, rail, aviation and defence – all big industries with a lot to lose if something were to go catastrophically wrong. It is therefore baffling to think the same attention to human factors isn’t apparent in healthcare.

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Medical Device Usability Engineering, a first-hand perspective

I’ve only been at PDD a matter of months as a Human Factors and Usability consultant, but to say that my feet have barely touched the ground, would be an understatement. I’ve travelled to four different countries, and observed 100 participants. In this article, I take a look at why going into the field is so important in identifying device development opportunities…

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The link between ethnographic research, human factors engineering and risk management in injection device development

Last week I spoke at the Injectable Drug Delivery International Conference on the essential link between ethnographic research, human factors engineering and risk management in injection device development, a subject close to my heart. We come across many medical companies that engage in ‘over the fence R&D’, a process that can, and does, lead to gaps in device development.

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The second best thing after sliced bread? Milk bottle openers

On returning from my local corner shop with a bottle of milk, I laid out the tools required to formulate the perfect cup of tea: kettle-on, sugar-out, mug selected , tea bag dumped. Tea making has become so habitual, it’s something that’s assumed to be done with ease by all.

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