NICU Standard 30: Usability Testing

Each new NICU shall perform multidisciplinary usability testing and standardization to enhance process resiliency for safety at transition.

Interpretation: An essential aspect of design planning is projecting how well Design Standards 1-29 achieve functional goals, including clinical team situational awareness, communication, patient visibility, accessibility and patient experience. Latent safety threats (LSTs) emerge when translating existing processes to the new environment. Each new NICU has unique, unexpected issues in adapting to its new space. Simulation-based operations testing help identify LSTs, improve process and prepare staff. Simulation may differ in the pre-construction, post-construction, and throughout the lifetime of an NICU. In the pre-construction phase, simulating scenarios using computer simulations or physical mock-ups helps inform ergonomic design. Framing out full-scale multi-room mock spaces are particularly effective at enabling clinical experts to explore work as imagined in the new environment. Simulation-based deliberate practice in these mock spaces may reveal unexpected consequences of performing routine and emergent workflows in the new environment. Post-construction, pre-occupancy simulations may reveal communication and teamwork LSTs involving technology infrastructure not reproducible in a temporary space. Though facility redesign may be impossible for late-discovered LSTs, their identification enables mitigation prior to exposing patients through training or workflow modification. Including families in simulations may enhance patient experience outcomes.

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