Healthcare Design Group

Principal Investigator: Professor P John Clarkson

Design for quality and safety

The Healthcare Design Group researches the role of systems thinking in the UK Health Service as a means to deliver safe, effective and affordable care. In particular, we are researching how to define and embed an evidence-based systems engineering culture in the UK Health Service to improve service quality:

  • by developing models of innovation practice for healthcare practitioners and providers;
  • by delivering a framework and tools for safety management into the UK Health Service;
  • by establishing a centre for patient safety research in the UK.

There is much scope for transferring the necessary knowledge and practice from other safety-critical industries, such as nuclear, aviation and defense, where design and risk assessment and management are well established. However, it is crucially important that any solutions that are identified are informed by current healthcare culture and practice.

We have developed, in close collaboration with local and regional healthcare trusts, a Safer Systems Toolkit for managing risk and a Healthcare Design Toolkit for guiding the early stages of the innovation process.

Group Members

Current Research

  • Prospective Hazard Analysis

    Exploring how using Prospective Hazard Analysis methods could prevent incidents before they occur.

  • DIAGRAMS - Co-Design of an Integrated Diagrammatic Systems Modelling Language (iDSML) for Healthcare Systems

    Systems that work do not just happen they have to be planned, designed and built. This may seem an obvious statement but the non-trivial question that logically follows is this how do you design a system that works? The extent to which rigorous design is valued and practiced in an organisation or sector makes a significant difference to quality and performance. This research is concerned with developing a language to be used in a rigorous approach to the design of healthcare systems.