Good Design Saves Lives In The UK

I was intrigued by a story (forwarded by Jonathan Browne) about designers working with doctors in the UK to redesign resuscitation “crash” trolleys. These carts contain all of the equipment and drugs for handling a cardiopulmonary resuscitation. But there was a problem: The confusing layout of existing crash trolleys was increasing the risk to patients.

The article discusses three components of the newly designed crash trolley (that has already won two Medical Futures Innovation Awards):

  • Put all items out in the open, so that the emergency teams can quickly find what they need; instead of having things buried in drawers.
  • Organize kits based on the three major medical situations: clearing an airway, gaining intravenous access to give fluids, and restarting the heart with drugs and defibrillation equipment.
  • Make the cart intutitve, so that it’s easy to use in a high-stress situation.


According Dr James Kinross from St Mary’s Hospital who was on the project::

It is laid out in a more intuitive way so that you have everything you need first at the top and subsequent things lower down

My take:This is another great example of how Design Solutions Can Improve Society. The combination of designers working with doctors delivered the key elements of a design solution:

  • A focus on the true (end user) requirements
  • Innovative approaches that break existing paradigms
  • Efficient solutions that deal with real-world constraints

The bottom line: Healthcare is ripe with opportunities for design solutions that can save lives and cut costs

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

8 Responses to Good Design Saves Lives In The UK

  1. Bruce,
    It is always refreshing to see examples of situations where people see past the routine to create more effective solutions. In a recent articles Marco Bevolo of Philips Design in The Netherlands, describes how premium ambient design can create competitive differentiation – especially in a weak ecomony.

    Marco’s article is in a publication titled “The Importance of the Customer Experience in a Down Economy.” It is one of 18 papers in the publication being made available free by Ogilvy’s Customer Futures Group. People can download it by going to:


  2. Pingback: 5S for Crash Carts « Neovista Newsfeed

  3. sam says:

    To my eye, the cart on the left “looks” better, cleaner lines, neater, etc. I think it’s a great design lesson that slick-looking and well-designed are not necessarily the same thing.

    • Bruce Temkin says:

      Sam: Great point. It demonstrates an important point: No experience is inherently good or bad; it must be examined based on how it helps the target audience accomplish their goals. Without that user-centric view, the old cart might be considered superior based on just its looks.

  4. Pingback: Get Lean and Prosper » Blog Archive » 5S for Hospital Crash Carts

  5. Pingback: Virtual Worlds and Inflatable Operating Theatres at NHS Innovations Expo « Virtual World Innovations

  6. Gregory Lynch says:

    Looks alot better to me. Anything that makes access easier during a resus is a good thing

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