Designers Aid for Infusion Pumps to Minimize User Error

Period of Performance: 04/01/1998 - 03/31/2000


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Anacapa Sciences, Inc.
301 East Carrillo Street 2FL, P. O. Box 519
Santa Barbara, CA 93102
Principal Investigator


The proposed research will develop a computer-based design tool for infusion pump manufactures that mitigates user error associated with infusion therapy. The Phase II research has three aims: (1) to conduct the research necessary to support development of a comuputertized design aid, (2) to develop the designer's aid, and (3) to evaluate the aid's effectiveness at engendering infusion pump designs that mitigate human error. The design tool will contain three main functions: (1) an analysis, (2) a design, and (3) an error/user information aid. A series of interviews with a large sample of nurses will be conducted to obtain error data necessary to develop the error/user information aid. Laboratory studies of user error and user's mental models will also be conducted with the same purpose in mind. The analysis aid and design aid will be developed based on existing human factors guidelines. The resulting prototype system will be evaluated in a study in which two redesigns of an existing infusion pump will be developed and simulated on a computer. A sample of nurses will perform procedures using the simulated versions and their performance will be compared. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: The research will lead to development of computer-based error mitigating design tools for medical device manufacturers. In addition to infusion pumps, design tools are envisions for many different medical devices (e.g. dialysis machines, respirators, machines for radiation therapy, heart monitors). The techniques described here are also viable for other applications where user error stems from equipment design (e.g., mitigating user errors associated with consumer products, teller machines, and home electronics components).