Decision-centred design in healthcare: the process of identifying a decision support tool for airway management

R. Schnittker, S. D. Marshall, T. Horberry, K. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Current decision support interventions for airway management in anaesthesia lack the application of Human Factors Engineering; leading to interventions that can be disruptive, inefficient and error-inducing. This study followed a decision-centred design process to identify decision support that can assist anaesthesia teams with challenging airway management situations. Field observations, Critical Decision Method interviews and focus groups were conducted to identify the most difficult decisions and their requirements. Data triangulation narrowed the focus to key decisions related to preparation and planning, and the transitioning between airway techniques during difficulties. Five decision-support interventions were identified and positively rated by anaesthesia team members in relation to their perceived effectiveness. An organized airway equipment trolley was chosen as the most beneficial decision support intervention. This study reiterated the key importance of both Human Factors Engineering and data triangulation when designing for healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-82
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Airway management
  • Cognitive task analysis
  • Decision-centred design

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