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Design and Human Factors in Sport – Function over Form

It was a pleasure as always to meet up with everyone at the Scottish Sport and Exercise Medicine Symposium at Hampden Park last Wednesday and a privilege to be asked to speak at this event on ‘Human Factors in Sport.’ I have taken a slide from the talk that I thought I could expand on a little bit here.

The importance and understanding of the relevance of Human Factors continues to grow – whether this is in a hospital or pre-hospital environment. As with anything that involves multiple ‘moving pieces’, our ability to function as a team to achieve best patient outcomes will always only be as strong as the weakest link. It is the same premise as the well known Chain of Survival we use in life support (or basically any chain for that matter).

Knowledge, technical skills and non-technical skills are vital and having access to the necessary equipment is also fundamental to good outcomes. The design and ergonomics of the kit we use (i.e. how we access it and use it when we have it) is a key thing we need to consider as clinicians.

Having a bag of kit but not being able to find the one bit of equipment you need as soon as you open the bag or failing to realise that an item has been used previously, but not replaced, is a massive problem. The Promote Medical bags have been designed and adapted directly as a consequence of the feedback from doctors and physios who use this type of kit in the pre-hospital setting. The Omnio bag was well received two years ago when it was launched and immediately used by Team GB. Since then it has been used across multiple sports across 14 countries. The feedback we sought over the next 12 months was, that although it suited most not everyone wanted all of the kit inside the bag, so we created the Primo + Connect bags to allow customisation while retaining the design/ergonomics that make the bags unique.

The important point here is not a sales message for our bags – but instead that regardless of the make or brand of your bags or your kit please consider the ‘Non- Technical’ elements that comprise your ability to respond to an emergency. Practice as a team; practice as an individual but please make sure you are prepared to respond when the time comes. Design/ergonomics are an important aspect of Human Factors but they are only one part of the chain, we need to make sure all parts of the chain are as strong as it can be.


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