Our Digital Innovations for Patient Safety theme is working to develop digital solutions that address threats to patient safety. We will design and evaluate a number of targeted interventions that address well-known threats to safety whilst addressing the challenges of successfully incorporating digital innovations alongside complex human and organisational needs.

Digital technologies have transformed many industries but progress in healthcare has been less rapid. So whilst digital innovations offer considerable potential to enhance patient safety, progress remains challenging. A key constraint to safety improvement has been the disconnect between developers of digital solutions and patients, clinicians and the complex clinical context. Our research strategy recognises that digital innovations are complex interventions in complex adaptive health systems and, as such, need careful human interface design to support safe human decision making and appropriate behaviour change if they are to be successful in enhancing patient safety. Moreover, we propose to digitally exploit the power of the sense making capabilities of humans in complex adaptive systems, to better understand the patient safety climate.

Our approach therefore moves beyond multidisciplinary (where people from different disciplines work together) to an interdisciplinary approach where knowledge and methods from different disciplines interact and are synthesised into a learning health system framework. The key disciplines that we will synthesize include computer science, informatics, human interface co-design, behaviour change, improvement science, systems theory, human factors, complex adaptive systems (human sense making) and implementation science. We aim to develop innovative approaches to enhancing patient safety across this journey, from early diagnosis through to discharge into primary and community care.

Theme lead:
Owen Johnson

Deputy theme lead:
Professor John Wright
Dr Jonathan Benn

Key people: Naeem Sheikh (Lay Leader), Professor Mohammed A MohammedCarolyn McCrorie, Dr Hamish Fraser, Dr Dan MasonDr Peter Gardner, Dr Binish Khatoon