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30 January 2014

Human error is not the problem

Location: Meeting Room 10, 2nd Floor, JLB
Time: 12:30pm - 13:45pm
Speaker(s): Prof Harold Thimbleby

When something bad happens to a patient, then surely somebody must have done something bad? Although it’s a simple story, it’s usually quite wrong. This talk argues, with lots of surprising examples, that the correct view is you do not want to avoid error — you want to avoid patient harm. Drawing on human factors and computer science, this talk shows the astonishing ways that systems conspire to cause and hide the causes of error. We will then show that better design can reduce harm significantly. We explain why industry is reluctant to improve, and how new policies could help improve technology. Prof Harold Thimbleby CEng FIET FLSW FRCP(Edin) HonFRCP HonFRSA is a computer scientist, well known for his work in human-computer interaction. He turned his attention to healthcare computing when one of his students was in intensive care. He is now an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, “the highest honour the RCP can bestow on a non-medically qualified person” and has previously been a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder and a Leverhulme Senior Research Fellow. See www.harold.thimbleby.net.

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Contact: mailto:h.c.sharp@open.ac.uk