Skip to content

Q logo

Meet the team


  • Dr Jonathan Synnott, University, Mr Andrew Ennis, CHIC, Maeve Murray, Nurse Educator, Eunice Minford, General Surgeon, AHP Rep, Informatics Rep

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to your chosen theme?

Aim: to address the challenge of engaging all staff in Human Factor training  through the deployment by mobile phone of a Human Factors Gamification App.  Gamification will add new dimension to human factor learning, using of incentives and rewards, which may increase motivation and drive pursuit of training goals. 80% of serious adverse incidents in HSC can be linked to miscommunication when service users are ‘handed-over’ (Ref: IHI).    Human Factor game will deploy interactive methods to upskill users in these skills. Evidence suggests that negative team behaviours have a significant impact on the quality and safety of healthcare.  The Royal College of Surgeons 2017 survey found these behaviours accounted for 71% of medical errors and 67% of adverse incidents.    Our NHSCT survey found 31% of staff had experienced BUHD  and 40% had witnessed it.  The Human Factor game will also allow staff to identify the signs and symptoms of fatigue and stress, with strategies to manage same.

What does your project aim to achieve?

A baseline survey of Human Factor skills will be undertaken and repeated post implementation. Measures include: (i) Decrease of BUHD behaviours in the surgical team  (ii) Decrease number of adverse incidents/near misses related to human factors (iii) More supportive working environment in surgery (iv) Improved patient experience (v) engagement with the solution.  Co-design with Trust staff will be used. By the nature of the project (focus on learning for HSC staff) there is unlikely to be significant service user engagement in design.   An agile development approach will be adopted and Gamification for Human Factor ‘champions’ deployed to support engagement from others.

We want to understand our target user’s primary sources of motivation, and develop the most appropriate reward system and Gamification Strategy.  The implemented solution will be developed with modularity as a focus (surgery and anaesthetics initially),  but could be scaled up and used in other areas – in NI and beyond.

How will the project be delivered?

The project is a joint venture between the NHSCT  and the School of Computing at Ulster University.  The core project team are:

Gill Smith, Innovation and Quality Improvement Lead, NHSCT – certified human factors trainer

Dr Jonny Holland, Clinical Lead for IQI, NHSCT -user

Eunice Minford, Consultant Surgeon, NHSCT -user

Representative from Informatics, NHSCT (IT tech skills)

Maeve Murray, Nursing Practice Educator, NHSCT, AHP rep, NHSCT – user

Jonathan Synnott, Lecturer in Data Analytics, School of Computing, Ulster University – computing skills

Andrew Ennis, Research Fellow, NI Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC), Ulster University – gamification skills

UU Student assigned to the project- computing skills

The skills above have been selected to mitigate potential risks i.e. technical skills, gamification skills, human factors expertise, user experience and a blend of professions.

Q Members will be part of our agile test group – many have expressed an interest in participation.

What and how is your project going to share learning throughout?

This project will test the appetite for this form of learning with HSC staff and their level of engagement with same – this learning will be shared across the HSCQI network and the Q Network.   The metrics identified will provide valuable information on impact of human factor skills development on safety and quality, as well as the efficiency associated with this form of learning.  NI has an organised HSCQI infrastructure and a website, which will provide a vehicle to share learning.  The IQI Lead for the Trust is a member of the NI Simulation and Human Factors Network (actively involved in supporting junior staff development of human factor skills),  and will be able to share learning from the project with the NISHFN,  and the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare, who whom the NISHFN have strong links.  The lead is also a member of the IHI Health Improvement Alliance for Europe – with whom learning will also be shared.

How you can contribute

  • We propose using members of the Q Community as an extended user test group. The Human Factor game App could be easily distributed via a Google Play test group, and interested members could provide feedback / see updates as they come through. We feel this will greatly enhance the product development, and fits well with our suggested agile approach to development. Since we launched the idea we have had overwhelming support from Q Community members across the UK who have offered input and expertise to our test group, and we would intend taking up these offers of input should our bid be successful.

Plan timeline

10 Nov 2019 Project initiation and detailed plan development
2 Dec 2019 Develop and launch communications strategy
5 Jan 2020 Commence stakeholder consultations on design and storyboard
16 Feb 2020 Sign off Gamification Strategy
2 Mar 2020 Commence prototype development and agile testing
10 May 2020 Test public release build and launch

Project updates

  • 27 May 2020

    The Gamification project commenced in September and we have experienced some delays as a result of COVID-19, but we have still be able to make good progress. The approach adopted is based on QI methodology and an Agile product development technology.  This combination has been successful if driving forward quick progress and iterative design and testing following initial specification.  We have also developed a formal agreement with our partnering organization (the University of Ulster) – this helps to establish clear roles and ownership for the Intellectual Property and product. We hope to test the App with a group of testers by late Summer.


  1. I'd be interested in supporting testing of the app once it's available - I have a dual interest in gamification for learning and the Human Factors topic area .

    Best wishes


  2. Guest

    Brook Howells 2 years ago

    This looks really interesting and I am looking forward to seeing how it develops. Happy to part of any testing work with it.

    1. Hi Brook - thanks for you feedback.  We have made good progress (despite some setbacks as an impact of COVID-19) and are hoping to test the App late summer.  We will reach out to those who have expressed an interest from the Q Community if you are interested in being part of our test group.

  3. Happy to be part of test group. Cheers.

  4. Guest

    Cathy McCusker 2 years, 5 months ago

    Gill well done and would be interested in hearing about your journey

  5. Fabulous idea and looking forward to see it in action.

    Would be happy to be involved with the  Q Community user test group.


  6. I'd be happy to be part of the test group!

  7. Guest

    Christian Subbe 2 years, 7 months ago

    Great idea. You might want to contact a group in Norwich who has now got over 2 Million user in a research project using gamification.

  8. This doesn't seem to download as a PDF?

  9. A great innovation and one which deserves to be recognised and widely adopted. Having worked as a healthcare industry training manager,I have seen this type of learning being used for some time, mainly because field-based workers need to gather and use a great deal of technical and complex information on a regular basis. This type of training also allows them to maintain their learning in the frequent periods between appointments and whilst away from their desks. It has been shown to be much easier to absorb information presented in this format, whilst the frequent updates are a good method of reinforcement and consolidation.

  10. Sounds like a really innovative approach & a great way of getting staff to understand the importance of human factors!

  11. Great concept and a great example of the potential of ‘serious play’. Would be great to test with medical and nursing students.

    Good luck

    best wishes


    1. Thanks Anna for your comments.  We are really keen to get our junior staff involved in the development of this.  I am a member of our NI Simulation and Human Factors Network and we are currently developing some human factor resources specifically targeted at more junior staff.  'Gamification for Human Factors' could really complement this.

  12. Hi Gill, what a great idea and proposal. The experimentation and implementation of new technologies to achieve greater quality of care and better health outcomes is so important. I especially like this proposal of using an (innovative) approach to enabling staff to develop and deploy (some of the most essential) skills, tools and knowledge necessary to improve the quality and safety of the care they provide. The importance of communication and collaboration can never be emphasised enough. Very interested to hear and see how this goes and would be really happy to help me anyway possible.

    1. Thanks Teresa - those are great reflections and we are excited about the possibilities of this project.  Its wonderful to have your support!

  13. Hi Jonny, Gill, always interested in hearing about technology integration, I would be really keen to see the test platform and would be happy to comment if you thought that would be of benefit. I've sent the link to a few interested colleagues also. Best of luck!

    1. Olga thanks for the positive messages.  It's wonderful to have a collection of volunteers willing to work with us.  We will certainly be calling upon that goodwill!

  14. This looks like a fantastic project. I would be really interested to see how it goes. if the outcomes reduce the incidence of harassment and bullying, it will be a brilliant achievement. The collaboration between technology and learning is the future. i will watch with interest to see how this develops, i would be happy to be part of a test group.

    1. Melanie we are excited to see what we could achieve, and this might just be another vehicle to help us shift culture in the right direction. Thanks for your comments.

  15. Guest

    Mandy Gormley 2 years, 10 months ago

    What a novel idea to engage staff.  It would be excellent in conjunction with face to face and e-learning particularly for staff with limited access to computers or ability to attend face to face sessions.

    1. Thanks Mandy.  Hopefully something we could scale up across HSCNI and beyond.  We would appreciate your support at voting time!



  16. Sure Gill, keep me posted. 👍

  17. Great idea addressing one of the biggest issues in healthcare-Human Factors thinking whilst applying those very Human Factors. People love their Smartphones and enjoy playing games on them-this is a very promising approach on how to get that vital message across. Will be watching with interest.

    1. Thanks Niall for your feedback.  I think the concept has multiple applications as well for capability building.  It would great to have your input as part of early testing if you are willing to be involved with us.  Hopefully we can persuade you!

  18. Guest

    Camille Harron 2 years, 10 months ago

    Sounds like an interesting project.  I wonder whether this approach might be successful in engaging groups that might be less likely to engage in current human factors training.  I also think there will be potential in building in co-operative features that might contribute to team cohesion. I'm curious to see how the "gaming" terminology is received.  Good luck and let me know if I can help.

    1. Camille we are really hopeful that this approach will make HF training more accessible - particularly to those harder to reach groups, and the 'gaming' technology could be a 'game changer' (excuse my awful pun!) for us in capability building in lots of areas!.  Would be great to have your input once we get off the starting blocks.  Thanks for the feedback

  19. Gill I just love the concept. You piqued my curiosity at "gamification!" Its a timely and novel idea that I think will appeal to a wide audience and has great potential to bring human factors training to a much wider audience.

    The biggest challenge will be the measuring impact. However, this is all about creating cultural change and I really think that you and the team have got something her. Definitely up to test and try and be a "critical friend" The very best of luck.

    1. Thanks Jacqueline.  Great to have input from our SHSCT colleagues.  Hopefully a project that could benefit us all in HSCNI and beyond.

  20. Guest

    Denise Kelly 2 years, 11 months ago

    Fantastic Gill. I would love to become involved and support such groundbreaking innovation. I am passionate about human factors and proud to be a NHSCT employee.

    1. Great to have your support Denise and we will be taking you up on that offer!!

  21. HI Philip - the Gamification project hasn't commenced yet.  It will being in October with the start of the new academic year - given our partnership with the University of Ulster

  22. This is a great idea for improving human factors awareness - look forward to hearing more about it, and maybe seeing a test version?

    1. Thanks Andrew.  We totally plan on using any willing volunteers from the Q Network to test the product with us as we develop it using an Agile approach.  Thanks for your interest!

  23. Gill, this is a great concept- with lots of potential. Love the inter-organisational partnership. Very happy to be part of your test group.

    1. Brilliant Ruth!  We would value your experience - having successful secured funding from Q and any insight you can bring to our work.

  24. I think this is a great idea which will provide  an opportunity for busy practitioners to engage in learning at a time and place that meets their needs -really exciting and I know you and your team will make it happen Gill!

  25. Calling fellow HSCQI colleagues/Q members in NI!  The NHSCT has launched its Q bid for Gamification for Human Factors.  Please take a look, offer us your thoughts and support us! Thank you

    1. Hi Gill

      This looks very interesting.

      Happy to be involved as part of the Q community user test group.

      At what stage of development is the app already at?


Leave a comment

If you have a Q account please log in before posting your comment.

Read our comments policy before posting your comment.

This will not be publicly visible

Please note that you won't be able to edit or delete comments once posted.