The Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal College of Art has revealed plans to enhance its focus on health and medical design, boosted by the appointment of former Pearson Matthews partner Ed Matthews.
The plans mark a series of new developments at the centre, which is dropping the word research from its name to reflect a wider focus of activity.
As part of the developments, co-founder Roger Coleman will relinquish his directorship of the centre to concentrate on leading the research group in design for patient safety. This leaves fellow co-founder Jeremy Myerson (pictured) as the director in charge.
The RCA has recruited Matthews, an engineer and RCA industrial design graduate, as senior research fellow at the centre. He joins from PA Consulting Group, where he led a series of medical device projects as managing consultant.
Matthews will develop health design projects, including the Ambulance Design for Patient Safety study.
The National Patient Safety Agency commissioned the centre to undertake the study in partnership with Loughborough University. It will highlight how the safety of patients and ambulance staff could be improved through better design of vehicles and equipment.
In addition, the centre is partnering the NPSA to explore how better graphic and information design can reduce medical errors in healthcare systems, and it is developing an ‘intelligent resuscitation trolley’ to improve patient safety.
Myerson says, ‘The original focus for the health and patient safety was the aging population. That has evolved into the centre point around the design. What do older people need? They need to lead independent lives, they need good transport, access to work so they can
be economically productive, healthcare systems that are safe and effective. Patient safety is a massive issue.’
The decision to change the name of the centre reflects its multiple focus on knowledge transfer, business outreach and design tools and methods, as well as formal research.
The corporate identity, originally designed by Margaret Calvert, has been freshened to be more contemporary, using the centre’s corporate colour pink. The redesign was handled by RCA graduate Thea Swayne, in collaboration with communications manager Margaret Durkan.
RCA rector Professor Sir Christopher Frayling says, ‘The strength of the Helen Hamlyn Centre is that it advances inclusive and human-centred design in a wide range of business, creative and academic contexts. The shorter name reflects the status. Funded research continues to be extremely important, but it is also important to communicate the breadth of the centre’s activities.’
• The Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre was established in January 1999 to explore the design implications of social and demographic change
• The centre has changed its name to leave out the word research, and enhanced its focus on design for healthcare and patient safety
• Ed Matthews has been appointed to strengthen the team in the healthcare area
• Roger Coleman is to concentrate on leading a research group in design for patient safety, while Jeremy Myerson becomes the sole director of the centre