The narrative of complexity: Applying user experience to unpick the complex system of hand hygiene in healthcare

You are here: Home » The narrative of complexity: Applying user experience to unpick the complex system of hand hygiene in healthcare

Dr Jamie Mackrill, Imperial College London

Hospital hygiene is a key factor in controlling the risk of infection to patients, with hand-mediated transmission a major contributing factor in infection threats. In order to prevent transmission of contaminants effective hand hygiene is required. Infection prevention practitioners have promoted Human Factors (HF) as a catalyst for effective improvement in this area.

Although there exists a variety of HF methods to formalise the analysis of systems one powerful method for uncovering complexity in this setting is the experience of healthcare professionals. This group understand the day-to-day context in which hand hygiene strategies sit. A number of methods exist for capturing user experience, from broad frames of participatory ergonomics through to more focused Experience Based Co-design methodologies in healthcare. Although insights are captured they do not necessarily generate opportunities for complex system improvement.

The aim of the study was to explore user experience of hand hygiene within the healthcare setting. The study uses morphological analysis to organise healthcare professionals experience (the narrative of complexity) to ‘unpick’ opportunities for system improvement to encourage hand hygiene.

Post hoc analysis of group interviews with n=20 healthcare professionals was carried out to understand their perceptions and experience of the hand hygiene measurement system within a large NHS Trust. Thematic analysis was used to create emergent themes describing this experience. Themes were organised into a morphological matrix to structure potential solutions for measurement improvement. A morphological matrix is a technique for generating ideas that may not normally spring to mind and involves considering the functions and features of a system and breaking it down into a number of sub-functions. The method has yet to be applied to hand hygiene in healthcare.

Date & time

7-8 June 2016

NCTL Learning and Conference Centre, Nottingham

What is a Complex System?

Organised by

Follow me on Twitter