Visual design plays key role in protecting health care workers during COVID-19

Monash University researchers have developed visual aids and safety briefing processes that aim to protect health care personnel (HCP) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an essential component in preventing transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in health care settings for HCP and their patients. Clear communication, ongoing education and support for HCP including the provision of visual aids, is crucial to maximise HCP and patient safety during COVID-19 and any future pandemics.

A team led by researchers in the Design Health Collab at Monash University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, in collaboration with COVID19AsOne public health initiative, has designed communication resources that effectively communicate the correct use of PPE. These posters have been deployed at Monash Health, Victoria’s largest public health service network which includes three major metropolitan hospitals.

The posters assist HCPs by providing visual aids outlining COVID-19 health and hygiene precautions and are part of a human-centric education model, which aims to maximise safety through key messages and clear communication.

Image: Fig. 1 (left) and Fig. 2 (right) from Safety briefing and visual design key to protecting health care personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic, by Kuhn, Lim, Flynn, Potter and Egerton-Warburton (2020).

These easily identifiable infographics are used with simple and consistent shift briefings, which allows rapid communication of information to HCP across multiple hospitals, while maintaining message recognition.

A culture of safety and confidence among HCP during this pandemic will not only ensure their safety, but also that of their patients and the community.

The model encompasses six key messages to:

  1. Reinforce the importance of identifying the virus as the predominant danger
  2. Include personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to danger
  3. Focus on hand hygiene
  4. Reinforce social distancing
  5. Encourage HCP wellness and teamwork
  6. Maximise communication, ensure understanding, and provide an opportunity for feedback and questions

A human-centred design approach was key to developing cut-through messaging that captures the attention and encourages health care workers to protect themselves and others from infection.

Professor Daphne Flynn, Director of Design Health Collab at Monash University

The safety briefing infographic acts as a powerful prompt to improve healthcare work and patient safety. These messages will be life saving during a pandemic.

Adjunct Clinical Professor Diana Egerton-Warburton from the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

The project was a collaboration involving Professor Daphne Flynn, Director of Design Health Collab in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Associate Professor Lisa Kuhn and Eden Potter from the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture, Adjunct Clinical Professor Diana Egerton-Warburton from the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and Zheng Jie Lim from the Department of Intensive Care and Anaesthesia, Ballarat Health Services.