A number of studies from around the world suggest that approximately 10% of patients admitted to hospital suffer some kind of harm through errors in hospital procedures [1–3].

Many of these are thought to be avoidable, and the Design for Patient Safety report [4] highlighted the problems in the use of design by the UK NHS.

Modern healthcare is complex mix of equipment, environment, staff and processes. The ward, bay and bed space is home to a variety of equipment, often designed with little thought to the system in which it operates.

The DOME project was set up to investigate how design of products, environments and systems could better support healthcare processes and reduce the instance of medical error on elective surgical wards.

The collaborative team of designers, clinicians, psychologists and ergonomists carried out several hundred hours of initial observations in...

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