#errordiary and #rsdiary Competition

Brain Food

Share your errors, and how to avoid them – Win a share of a whopping £900 prize fund!


Competition Summary – How do I win prizes?

You win prizes by posting errors and strategies to avoid errors through the website. See the #errordiary and #rsdiary tabs for examples. You can either post these through Twitter or directly through the website – but for both you need to register for an Errordiary account to win prizes! There are 30 x £30 prizes on offer (table below shows the distribution of prizes): there is a focus on the general public, medical professionals and people with diabetes. The competition runs from 15th October 2013 to midnight 6th January 2014 (GMT). Find out more information below:

Introduction to this project: Me? Make mistakes?

‘Errordiary in Healthcare’ has two main aims: to raise awareness about how ‘normal’ and widespread human errors are (we all make mistakes) but also to raise awareness about the things we do to make us more resilient to errors. These ‘resilience strategies’ are the tips and tricks people develop and use to block errors they know they might make. For example if you leave your umbrella in an obvious place by the front door you are more likely to remember to take it as you’re leaving the house than if it is stored in a cupboard.

No amount of telephone training could stop you from misdialling ‘3’ when you meant ‘7’ but one way to prevent it might be to save a frequently dialled number into your favourites. This shows that human error is not always prevented by training but can be influenced by design. People using computers know that if they make a mistake they have a delete key that will undo it for them. In this case the design makes it easy for the person to recover from the error – the system is tolerant to these sorts of error. Similarly, in the olden days correction fluid was used when typing on paper for the same reason – people expected errors.

For many people the concept of errors being a ‘normal’ part of everyone’s day is still quite a controversial one. We need to widen the debate on this so that people understand that even though we can’t get rid of error entirely there are things we can do to reduce it and its effects.

This is particularly important in healthcare because people are often blamed for errors when some experts think that more effort should be put into sharing error openly, flagging up potential error, reducing the effects of error, and creating error tolerant systems.

If you forgetfully leave your front-door keys inside you might have to call your partner back from work to let you in, but what if you’re part of a surgical team and you leave a swab inside a patient after an operation?

One way to stop this error is to run through a series of checks, either for home (“keys, wallet, phone”) or when in surgery (count the swabs as they’re being used, and count them again when they’re taken out – are the numbers the same?).

Human error is a complex concept: we find it funny and tragic; there are different psychological types of human error based on knowledge and attention; there are design and system-level interventions that can be made to reduce error; and there are resilience strategies that people can develop to reduce error. We hope that people will share their mistakes, and their resilience strategies, to contribute to this story. This will contribute to our research, teaching and public engagement activities.

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How do I take part?

Tell us your errors and resilience strategies

Errordiary is a site we’ve created for you to post your errors and resilience strategies. Once registered (it’s free) anyone can browse and comment on the errors that other people have posted or create a new post of their own. If you have a Twitter account you can use that to post errors too – just add the hashtag #errordiary if you’re sharing an error and #rsdiary (for ‘resilience strategies diary’) if you’re sharing a solution.

Thirty £30 prizes are on offer! Further details below.

We’re also working with people from two healthcare communities: medical professionals, and people with diabetes. We’re asking them to add #nurse, #wenurses, #ptsafety, #mederrors, #pharmacist or similar (if they’re a medical professional) and #diabetes, #doc, #bgnow, #gbdoc or #ourD (if they’re a person with diabetes) in their posts.

Here are some examples from medical professionals…

“I forgot the magnesium I was meant to give the patient! Luckily I noticed and got it in time #errordiary #nurse”

“When programming two infusion pumps at the same time I set-up one first and then the other, so less chance of confusion #rsdiary #nurse”

…and from people with diabetes

“I’ve taken my blood glucose reading but I can’t remember what it was #errordiary #diabetes”

“I keep an insulin pen in my lunch box so there is less chance of me forgetting it at home #rsdiary #diabetes”

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What research am I contributing to?

To help us see how Errordiary is being used and what impact it is having we will be running a series of surveys and focus groups. We will analyse all the posts for wider learning, e.g. to produce practical guidance for medical professionals and people with diabetes that originates from this work and for academic publications. Because of the public nature of the website participants could be identifiable and need to consider this before posting (see notes on ethics below).

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How will my data be used? Ethical issues and advice on posting errors.

Please note that Errordiary is a public website so please post responsibly. This means that anyone can see what you post about yourself and about others – please avoid using any real names or places especially where it might get someone in trouble.

Please note we intend to use data on the website for presentations, teaching, creating a practical guide, publishing academic papers and publicity. We may even publish a book in the longer term. However, because it is a public site it is safer to assume that anyone can use this data for anything – we do not intend to use the data for anything other than the things we have just stated but other people might. Please see our best practice guidelines for using information on the website for further information.

To help protect their identity some people have set up aliases on the website, e.g. @Faintsignals, @ccidental, @oopsohno. You can do the same and still be eligible for prizes. Raising awareness of some of the risks and implications of sharing things online is something we want to promote – read more here.

Rather than posting serious errors people might feel more comfortable posting everyday errors and sharing resilience strategies to avoid them. For healthcare professionals in particular – this is not the place for reporting serious errors that have led to harm. We want to hear about your low-level errors and near misses, as well as resilience strategies, inside and outside of the workplace.

If you have any issues with anything posted on the website then please contact us so we can deal with it.

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What are the prize draw’s terms and conditions?

To be eligible for the ‘Errordiary in Healthcare’ Prize Draw: You should be over 18 years of age. You should not be an employee on or affiliated to the CHI+MED project. You can be registered outside of the UK but eligible posts must be made in English, be clearly legible, not copied, and clearly owned by the author, e.g. retweeting other’s posts with #errordiary or #rsdiary are good contributions to the site but are not eligible for the competition. You can be a member of the general public for the main draw, but need to be a medical professional or a diabetes patient for the specialist draws. To be eligible you need to register an account on the Errordiary website and post on it, either through Twitter or directly through the website. Medical professionals should include this clear reference in the post to identify themselves and to qualify for the specialist draws: #nurse, #wenurses, #ptsafety, #mederrors, #pharmacist or similar. People with diabetes should include a clear reference in the post to identify themselves and to qualify for the specialist draws: #diabetes, #doc, #bgnow, #gbdoc or #ourD.

Medical professionals are people that help administer care, treatment and diagnose patients, e.g. nurses, doctors, anaethetists, pharmacists, paramedics and emergency care practitioners.

There will be 30 x £30 prizes. Prizes will either be awarded by cash transfer or vouchers at the discretion of the organisers. The competition will be open from 15th October 2013 and close on 6th January 2014. Winners will be notified by 31st January 2014.

You can get information about the competition and Errordiary in general by signing up to our mailing list (look in sidebar on the right hand side of the page) or by following us on Twitter @errordiarynews. Find out how the project is progressing and the level of community engagement by visiting our special blog: Space Shuttle EndeavErr. We’ve opened up a space for discussion about the competition in our discussion forum too.

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Table of prizes

Errordiary Competition table - click to view spreadsheet


If there are any questions or queries about this project please contact Dr Dominic Furniss d.furniss@ucl.ac.uk

Funding acknowledgements

This project is funded by a UCL Public Engagement Unit Bursary Grant, the EU project Citizen Cyberlab (Grant No 317705) and the CHI+MED: Multidisciplinary Computer-Human Interaction research for the design and safe use of interactive medical devices project, supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [EP/G059063/1].