Good Design Saves Lives In The UK

I was intrigued by a story (forwarded by Jonathan Browne) about designers working with doctors in the UK to redesign resuscitation “crash” trolleys. These carts contain all of the equipment and drugs for handling a cardiopulmonary resuscitation. But there was a problem: The confusing layout of existing crash trolleys was increasing the risk to patients.

The article discusses three components of the newly designed crash trolley (that has already won two Medical Futures Innovation Awards):

  • Put all items out in the open, so that the emergency teams can quickly find what they need; instead of having things buried in drawers.
  • Organize kits based on the three major medical situations: clearing an airway, gaining intravenous access to give fluids, and restarting the heart with drugs and defibrillation equipment.
  • Make the cart intutitve, so that it’s easy to use in a high-stress situation.


According Dr James Kinross from St Mary’s Hospital who was on the project::

It is laid out in a more intuitive way so that you have everything you need first at the top and subsequent things lower down

My take:This is another great example of how Design Solutions Can Improve Society. The combination of designers working with doctors delivered the key elements of a design solution:

  • A focus on the true (end user) requirements
  • Innovative approaches that break existing paradigms
  • Efficient solutions that deal with real-world constraints

The bottom line: Healthcare is ripe with opportunities for design solutions that can save lives and cut costs

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

8 thoughts on “Good Design Saves Lives In The UK”

  1. Bruce,
    It is always refreshing to see examples of situations where people see past the routine to create more effective solutions. In a recent articles Marco Bevolo of Philips Design in The Netherlands, describes how premium ambient design can create competitive differentiation – especially in a weak ecomony.

    Marco’s article is in a publication titled “The Importance of the Customer Experience in a Down Economy.” It is one of 18 papers in the publication being made available free by Ogilvy’s Customer Futures Group. People can download it by going to:


  2. To my eye, the cart on the left “looks” better, cleaner lines, neater, etc. I think it’s a great design lesson that slick-looking and well-designed are not necessarily the same thing.

    1. Sam: Great point. It demonstrates an important point: No experience is inherently good or bad; it must be examined based on how it helps the target audience accomplish their goals. Without that user-centric view, the old cart might be considered superior based on just its looks.

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