Travelling, Medications and Patient Work

My parents, as they often do, came up to Newcastle and stayed for a few nights last week, and it ended up being a case study in Patient Work.

My mother left all her medications at home. I’m sure she’s not the first, and won’t be the last person to make this kind of skill-based error known as a “lapse”, but it immediately raised some obvious questions and issues that she, and others, had to go about solving, requiring significant amounts of time and mental effort which all contributed to her Patient Workload. Continue reading “Travelling, Medications and Patient Work”

The Complexity of Patient Work: An Addendum

There’s been yet another twist in my earlier story about trip to Sydney for a medical appointment a little while back. I popped into my pharmacist earlier this week to get a script filled and he casually asked me if wanted my final lot of Humira, which was the medication I was driving all over Sydney to try and get because I had run out. As it turned out, I had one more repeat than I had thought, and the pharmacist had filled it expecting me to come back and get it when I needed. This meant there was more Humira sitting in the pharmacy fridge in Newcastle waiting for me the whole time I was going going back and forth across Sydney!

Sigh…

A Challenge to Cloth Theatre Caps

In recent months the “Theatre Cap Challenge” has been picking up steam on Twitter & has had significant coverage on mainstream media as well. In case you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, you can check out my video in this post or check out the twitter feed below.

While it’s been great seeing this initiative gain momentum, it seems that a significant number of people are hitting a hurdle in adopting it because their hospital doesn’t allow reusable cloth caps citing infection control concerns. In Australia, the ACORN standard is usually cited as the reason for not allowing them, though not all hospitals are interpreting the standard in the same way, and the standard itself allows individual hospitals to develop their own policy on cloth caps.

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The Complexity of Patient Work

Following my recent “discovery” of  the concept of Patient Work, it has reframed the way I view all my interactions with the healthcare system such as doctors visits, taking medication, blood tests and scans and so on. I’ve decided I’m going to start describing and documenting some of these interactions primarily for my own interest, but also in case others find them interesting as well. What follows is an almost textbook example of some of the complexity and unpredictability of Patient Work, and the need for the Patient Work System to be resilient enough to cope with these variations and uncertainties

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What’s in a name?

As part of my job, I have a monthly safety spot at our departmental M&M meetings. Here is a modified version of one of the presentations discussing the importance of knowing, and using, people’s names. If you would like to download a copy of the slides, you can do so here here.

What’s in a name? from Dr Getafix on Vimeo.

The “names-on-caps” idea came from Rob Hackett and then went viral after Alison Brindle started the hashtag #TheatreCapChallenge.

Patient Work in the Twitterverse

Following my recent post on Patient Work, I decided to do what i normally do when I want to research something and headed over to Twitter. I did a search using the hashtag #PatientWork and was surprised to discover that at that time (2/3/18) there was a total of only 25 tweets, the earliest one being from 2012. Furthermore, 5 of them were mine, and 7 were used in a sense that was unrelated to what I was interested in leaving only 13 of relevance to me that predated my interest in the topic! I think this confirms Holden’s opinion (quoted in my earlier post) that this area is under-represented in the HF/E area. I might have to see if I can do something about that!

 

Comfort ye my people

Following my diagnosis with advanced melanoma in 2013, I had a brief flirtation with blogging which didn’t last very long. One of my motivations at the time was to try and document interesting tidbits about myself, likes, dislikes, things I was interested in and so on in a format that would be easily accessible by my kids (and anyone else that might be interested!) when they were older. I was kind of doing it anyway on Facebook but I was a bit concerned about what might happen to the company (& my data) in the future, and I didn’t think that platform was very good for my purposes in terms of its usability. Now that I’m having a more serious crack at blogging, I thought I’d copy some of my posts from there to here.

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Reasonable Faith

Another post from my first attempt at blogging, going back to late 2013. I still find Craig’s work intellectually stimulating, and spiritually encouraging today. I think my faith is even more “reasonable” now than it was 4 years ago despite, or perhaps because of, what I have been through over that time.


These days “faith” seems to be most often talked about as a polar opposite to “reason”, “logic” or “rational thought”, and increasingly, “science”. If you have faith in something then that means you believe it, but without having any objective evidence to support it. Sometimes, the insinuation by others is that you believe it even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. As Mark Twain would say “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

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Patient Work

One of the (many!) things I love about Human Factors/Ergonomics (HF/E) specialists is that a large chunk of their work involves studying, describing and naming “everyday” human experiences. So when I am listening to their presentations or reading their articles, it is not uncommon for me to have an “A-ha!” moment where they describe something that is very familiar to me. “Oh, that’s what that’s called!” or “Phew! I thought I was the only one that did that sort of thing!”. A relatively recent example of this for me was as at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia conference (HFESA17) last year. This time, the everyday experience that now had a name was “Patient Work”. Continue reading “Patient Work”