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Could we apply this tool to our informatics practice?

By Dennis Tribble posted 01-31-2023 22:59


I happened across another interesting blog entitled “How simulation can overcome bias and objectively test design performance” that I urge you to read. In this blog, two architects describe how their use of a simulation modeling tool allows them to test designs for physical space against the users and workflows that need to occur within them to overcome both the biases of the designers (design preconceptions) and the biases of those for whom they are designing.

One sentence from this blog particularly struck me “It can be difficult for clinicians to understand the implications of design decisions. Their perception of space is often more shaped by a memorable event than daily occurrences. They may see a symptom as the problem or may jump to “common sense” solutions that won’t really address their problems (“we just need more rooms”).”

In my last role as a Director of Pharmacy I had a similar experience. What was generally perceived by my staff as “just needing more bodies” turned out to be handled by reorganizing the workspace and changing the scheduling of certain activities. We eventually did need more bodies, but not the number or type originally requested. And, ultimately, automation changed those numbers and the workflow again.

As a spoiler, they describe how what was originally perceived as a lack of available space turned out to be a lack of appropriate workflow.

The tool they describe generated a couple of different graphics that allowed them to see things that just thinking about the space would not reveal. Again, I urge you to follow the link and read the blog.

In the absence of such a tool, how do we design space (or technology) today?

What information would such a tool need to acquire?

What kinds of outputs would we expect the tool to deliver?

How would we expect to use such tools?

Again, more questions than answers. But designing such a tool might be a really useful informatics residency project.

As always, the comments in this blog reflect my thoughts and not necessarily those of ASHP or of my employer.

Dennis A. Tribble, PharmD, FASHP

Ormond Beach, FL