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Empathic engineering: helping deliver dignity through design.

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Cornish, Katie 
Bradley, Mike 
Clarkson, P John 


Dignity is a key value within healthcare. Technology is also recognized as being a fundamental part of healthcare delivery, but also a potential cause of dehumanization of the patient. Therefore, understanding how medical devices can be designed to help deliver dignity is important. This paper explores the role of empathy tools as a way of engendering empathy in engineers and designers to enable them to design for dignity. A framework is proposed that makes the link between empathy tools and outcomes of feelings of dignity. It represents a broad systems view that provides a structure for reviewing the evidence for the efficacy of empathy tools and also how dignity can be systematically understood for particular medical devices.



Design, dignity, empathy, engineering, tools, Biomedical Technology, Empathy, Equipment Design, Equipment and Supplies, Humans, Personhood, Self-Help Devices, United Kingdom

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J Med Eng Technol

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Informa UK Limited
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M000273/1)
This paper was authored through funding from the EPSRC-NIHR HTC Partnership Award: Promoting Real Independence through Design Expertise (ref: EP/M000273/1) and NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East of England (CLAHRC EoE) at the Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.