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New technologies for patient safety: unpacking the black box of implementation challenges and opportunities

Nicola Mackintosh, King's College London

Event details


Nicola Mackintosh is senior post-doctoral fellow. She has a background in critical care nursing.

Since 2005 she has been a patient safety researcher working across maternity, emergency and acute care. Between 2008 – 2012 she worked in the NIHR King’s Patient Safety and Service Quality (PSSQ) Research Centre, leading ethnographic research exploring the management of complications in maternity and acute care including the role of safety tools and rapid response systems.

During this time she also completed her PhD which examined the construct of ‘rescue’ and relationships between organisational systems, department and individual level processes in managing acute illness.

She currently works in the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine at Kings College, London leading the process evaluation of an ICU telemedicine programme.

She is also part way through her 3 year post-doctoral fellowship within King’s Centre for Improvement Science, NIHR CLAHRC South London, which she was awarded to study the implementation of health technologies to improve patient and family contributions to safety (specifically patient and family initiated escalation of emergency care).

Seminar description

New technologies for patient safety: unpacking the black box of implementation challenges and opportunities

New technologies offer significant novelty and visibility, as well as the transformational potential to impact on service delivery, patient outcome and experience.

However, ‘the promise’ of these often fails to deliver in practice due to a number of implementation challenges.

In this seminar I will draw on ethnographic data from two studies (a critical care telemedicine model and an electronic early warning system) to demonstrate the complex constellations of political, organisational and professional factors which shape the adoption and implementation of safety technologies.

Implementation themes such as distinguishing project drift from innovation, and capturing ‘normalisation work’ and process evaluation / implementation measures will be discussed.

Underpinning socio-cultural influences such as the contested nature of evidence, and representations of clinical work and ‘care’ will also be explored to highlight the opportunities and tensions presented by implementation of new technologies. 

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Nicola Makintosh