A game changer for patient safety

Research supported by Luto has been published in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety. The research shows that use of NHS guidelines for giving injections – improved through user testing – led to nearly 2 and a half more doses being given without mistakes. One commentator said that this is ‘a game changer for patient safety’.

Getting started

Researcher Dr Matthew Jones, from the University of Bath, undertook two weeks training in the Luto user testing method before embarking on his research (funded by the NHS National Institute for Health Research). The Luto user testing method involves getting the target users of health information to test whether key points of information can be found and easily understood. Before, it has been generally applied to patient information, transforming the leaflet supplied with medicines for example. However, it can equally be applied to information for health professionals, with the target health professionals taking part in the testing. This is what happened in the current research – with nurses as the professional group.

A previous research paper in the Journal of Patient Safety from Dr Jones, described the user testing process for the injection guidelines. It noted how the testing led to numerous revisions to the guidelines, including:

  • adding sub-headings
  • clear wording
  • clearer formatting

Clear results

In the latest study, during a shift nurses were asked to use the NHS guidelines to give an injection into a simulated patients arm. Half were given the current NHS guidelines information and the other half the improved, user tested information. Importantly the BMJ published research found that not only were they are far fewer mistakes, but the injection procedure was completed faster and nurses felt more confident about their decisions.

Luto founder and academic advisor Theo Raynor commented:

People generally do not appreciate how important it is that information for health professionals is clear and easy to understand. Now more than ever before, busy health professionals need information which allows them to make quick and confident decisions about treatments“.

Previous published work supported by Luto Research found that user testing of the core information about medicines for health professionals (the Summary of Product Characteristics) resulted in information which was much easier to use by general practitioners and senior hospital doctors. Luto routinely user tests risk minimisation materials for health professionals, as part of the medicines regulation process in the European Union.

Dr Jones said:

To improve patient safety, most injectable medicines guidelines should be used or tested. This is particularly important when high risk and complex decisions are being made”.

Read the full research here.