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Creating cognitive aids..

Our journey into cognitive aid innovation..


  • Recognising our own vulnerabilities in times of overwhelming clinical stress, we set out to explore the various cognitive aids in existence for anaesthesia.

  • We agreed our starting point would be Neuro-anaesthesia and envisioned a Neuro-anaesthesia Crisis Manual in collaboration with our Neuro-anaesthetists for the benefit of our whole department.

  • We searched far and wide but kept coming back to EMIC. We were just blown away by their approach and the resources they made available to help people in our position.

  • We actually utilised many of the resources they offer and found it incredibly useful to structure our approaches.

  • We spoke to the Human Factors experts and our anticipated end-users. This helped us to refine our own style and innovation, eventually deciding on a text-graphic balance to cognitively unload.

  • We will always be grateful to EMIC.


  • Anyone with an interest in cognitive aids/emergency manuals would benefit from the work of the Stanford Cognitive Aid Group, Ariadne Labs and Emergency Manual Implementation Collaborative (EMIC)

  • The EMIC website is an invaluable resource filled with free tools and multi-media material on emergency manuals/cognitive aids.

  • With videos, articles, tutorials and design templates, the site guides institutions through evidence-based approach to introduce emergency manuals from engaging your team through design/development, implementation and tips on how to review and maximise success through quality assurance and testing.

  • The implementation toolkit can be found here www.implementingemergencychecklists.org/implementing-the-checklist/getting-started/

  • It also includes landmark papers exploring how checklists and cognitive aids were transitioned from aviation into medicine, ultimately improving team performance and patient safety around the world.

  • Provided within are examples of subspecialty manuals in areas such as Neuro-anaesthesia, Paediatric Anaesthesia and Obstetrics from around the world.

  • While the focus is on perioperative care, there is cross over to other areas of high-acuity medicine.

  • For anyone interested in how cognitive aids can help your institution and for an easy place to start developing your own, EMIC website is a one-stop shop.

  • Highly recommended, enjoy exploring https://www.emergencymanuals.org/



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