PPE manufacturers need to consider healthcare worker usability more, study shows

A study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology shows the design of personal protective equipment for infectious diseases is not very user friendly, which is problematic, given its purpose.

Researchers conducted usability testing at four academic health sciences centers to assess the appropriateness, potential for errors and ease of use of various combinations of PPE. They also received PPE feedback from 82 study participants.

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The study showed none of the tested mix-and-match combinations of PPE components provided a complete solution for protection. Additionally, room layout and the design of PPE protocols and instructional materials were found to affect safety. Ultimately, the researches concluded that PPE should be designed as a complete system rather than mix-and-match components.

"Healthcare institutions are encouraged to use human factors methods to identify risk and failure points with the usage of their selected PPE, and to modify on the basis of iterative evaluations with representative end users," the authors concluded. "Manufacturers of PPE should consider usability when designing the next generation of PPE."

 

 

More articles on PPE:
Protecting health workers from Zika transmission during labor: 5 things to know
Seamless PPE suit that covers wrists may reduce contamination of healthcare personnel
Patient safety tool: UL Workplace Health & Safety's PPE training course

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