How do health service professionals consider human factors when purchasing interactive medical devices? A qualitative interview study

in Applied Ergonomics, Journal article


© 2016 Elsevier LtdWe present findings of a UK study into how those involved in purchasing interactive medical devices go about evaluating usability, the challenges that arise, and opportunities for improvement. The study focused on procurement of infusion devices because these are used by various professionals across healthcare. A semi-structured interview study was carried out involving a range of stakeholders (20 in total) involved in or impacted by medical device procurement. Data was analysed using thematic analysis, a qualitative method designed to support the identification, analysis and reporting of patterns. In principle, health service purchasing was found to accommodate consideration of equipment usability. In practice, the evaluation process was driven primarily by engineering standards; assessment of local needs did not accommodate substantive assessment of usability; and choice was limited by the availability of equipment on the marketplace. We discuss ways in which purchasing could be improved through techniques that account for social circumstances.