The use of various forms of visualisation to create or enhance meaning is a key feature of many arts and humanities disciplines. The research reported on this site brings innovative dynamic visualisation practices to bear on an important environmental and social health issue, namely healthcare associated infections (HAIs). Having ascertained the need for such knowledge exchange during 2010, our multidisciplinary team was successful in obtaining £99,391 from AHRC/SFC to take this work forward throughout 2011 and 2012.

Aim of Project

The aim of this project was to engage in knowledge exchange that would lead to the development of dynamic visualisation approaches that would be useful in the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections.

Main Project Deliverables

  1. A profile of ways of seeing pathogens in medical and surgical ward contexts
  2. The development, evaluation and refinement of a suite of visualisations
  3. A functioning knowledge exchange network for visualisations in healthcare
  4. A profile of related clinical issues that may benefit from visualisation approaches

Research Questions

  1. Given that pathogens are, under normal circumstances, invisible, how do healthcare workers in medical and surgical care settings envisage pathogens and what does this mean in the context of their daily working practices?
  2. What current ways of representing pathogens and their consequences are most meaningful to these workers in terms of perceived influence on awareness and behaviour?
  3. Focusing on the specific challenge of digital visualisation of new data about high risk hand touch sites and worker behaviour in these settings, how might this best be developed in a way that is meaningful and may influence awareness and behaviour?
  4. What are the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the prototype visualisation options, and how might they be further developed and applied to enhance prevention and control of healthcare associated infections?
  5. What learning has accrued from this process of collaborative inquiry and knowledge exchange, and what questions require to be addressed through further research?

Main Elements of the Enquiry Process

The progression depicted was realised through a five phase research approach involving: initial workshops with small groups of NHS staff; development of visualisations based on emergent and existing data; further workshops evaluating a suite of visualisation options; refinement of visualisations/scoping potential applications; and structured feedback/next steps seminars with all stakeholders, the research team and network members.