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Anaesthesia ergonomics

Research, Health care
2012 | 4 months
CHI+MED (UCL, London)

Physical layout model
Extracting facts from qualitative data

At UCLIC, I ran my own study on technology usage in anaesthesia. I did observations in operation theatres in a London hospital. On these findings I created descriptive context models to help engineer improve the technologies. We published various papers on the findings, one at CHI, the world's largest human-computer interaction conference.


After my first year in Berlin, I decided to take some time off to experience what it is like to work as a HMI expert. After working for Dräger, I moved to London. Here I worked in CHI+MED, Europe's largest project in health care ergonomics. The coming months, I spent in operation theatres to observe medical professionals during work.

Operation theatre
Anesthetic equipment
Erik in hospital
My workplace for several weeks

Research goals

I had two research goals. First, I explored ergonomic problems with anaesthetic equipment. Second, I compared two ethnographic approaches on structuring rough data.

Work system: Operation theatre

The operation theatre is a interesting work system. Distinct professionals perform endless tasks on a patient reacting individually. There is a lot of uncertainty.

I am fascinated by the these complex systems. Human factors engineering is strong here, as it structures the design approach. Also, I am a big fan of qualitative research methods. They often lead to breathtaking insights and real paradigm shifts.

Formalizing qualitative data

Qualitative data is often described as chaotic. Part of my work was to create models like the ones depicted below. They formalize qualitative findings and transform them to real assets in the development process. An engineer could study them to get a much better understanding of the context his technology is used in.

Information model
The information flow model

Writing on the topic

We published various papers on the findings, one at CHI, the world's largest human-computer interaction conference.