Ed Matthews


  • Ed Matthews
  • Area

    The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design


    Senior Research Fellow, The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design

  • Ed Matthews is Reader in Healthcare Design at the Royal College of Art. He joined the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design in 2007 to lead the centre's work in design for healthcare and patient safety. His first degree was a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bath, followed by a Masters in Industrial Design from the RCA. He consulted in product design and development over a wide range of industries for ten years. He then focused on the design and engineering of medical devices for more than 20 years, During this period he ran a successful design firm.

  • Biography

  • A lifelong engineer, inspired by experience in industrial placements during his engineering degree and his work with arts-trained designers at the RCA, Ed pursued a career in design consultancy in order to be involved in a rich variety of interesting and challenging design work. He became 'the Designer's Design Engineer', built up a team of engineer-designers to bring concepts through to manufacture, and was instrumental in a culture change in product design in the UK. Engineers are now involved in the creative concept-generation process, rather than retrospectively interpreting the aesthetic concepts for production.

    Ed Matthews subsequently moved into technology consulting, working with designers, engineers and scientists to bridge different cultures, championing the value of people-centred design that exploits useful technologies, rather than products designed simply to generate markets around technology. He was drawn towards medical products because they have to be engineered accurately, and because in addition to generating wealth they generally enhance wellbeing.

    At the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Ed works with teams of creative and highly skilled people from a variety of disciplines on interesting projects for industry partners and research councils. Researching and building a solid evidence base through interactions with users and stakeholders is key to the projects undertaken. This approach leads to solid, worthwhile design propositions that are then defined, developed and delivered.

    Ed Matthews has a range of research interests. As Reader in Healthcare Design at the RCA his overarching focus is to enable designers to contribute to innovation in the healthcare arena, leveraging creative relationships between industry and academia. Some of the work is exploratory, in challenging new fields of design for mental health (environments, systems and products informed by an understanding of the clinical and emotional issues in areas such as dementia and autism) and extends beyond the design of artefacts into the understanding of motivations and behaviours, leading to the creation of interventions that help to change those behaviours.

    Other programmes have investigated a future ambulance system and proposed a new structure of integrated pre-hospital healthcare, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions through a system of improved ambulances, small paramedic response vehicles for non-emergency treatments, standardised equipment, treatment spaces and layouts and improved operations management. A working demonstrator unit has been built and projects are being set up to refine an ambulance design to support the clinical and operational requirements of today’s ambulance services EU-wide, to build prototype vehicles and bring them into service through rigorous field trials.

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  • External collaborations

  • Senior Judge: Products Categories, Building Better Healthcare Awards
    Judge: Merck Serono Design4Life medical design competition for young people
    Advisory Board Member: CHI+MED research programme, University College London
    Project Collaborator: AHRC project (Sheffield Hallam University, University of Coventry, Glasgow School of Art and Royal College of Art) ‘Design for Health: The State of the Art’
    Visiting Lecturer: Medical Device Design, BSc Surgeons and Anaesthetists course, MSc Biomechanics course, Imperial College
    Visiting Tutor: Design London / Imperial College
    PhD Supervision: University of Huddersfield and Vehicle Design, RCA

  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Selected Publications

    de Almeida, L., Matthews, E., Fusari, G. (2017) Patient Flow: Design to Improve Patient Flow through Acute Medicine. 3rd UCL Centre for Behaviour Change Digital Health Conference 2017: Harnessing digital technology for behaviour change 

    de Almeida, L., Matthews, E., (2016) Patient Flow in Acute Medical Units: A design approach to flow improvement. Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh Journal Issue: Volume 46: Issue 4: 2016

    West, J., Wojdecka, A., Matthews, E., Gheerawo, R., Hardy, A., Garety, P. (2016) SlowMo: Inclusive design to improve therapy for paranoid and suspicious thoughts. International Conference on Universal Design, Nagoya 2016 (pending)

    Matthews E: (2015) 'Quality and Safety in Acute Medical care – what can design bring to the table? J R College Physicians Edinburgh; 2015 March; 45(1):9-11

    Raby, E. & Matthews, E. (2015). `Drink Informed, Co-Design for Behaviour Change', Poster presentation at Getting to Grips with Alcohol Conference, Southampton, 28 January 2015

    West, J., Tomos, H. & Matthews, E. (2014) `The Creative Step in Patient Safety', workshop at ISQUA (The International Society for Quality in Health Care), Rio de Janeiro, 7 October 2014

    Mathews, E. (2013) Research’ and ‘Design’ – How Do We Combine Them To Bring Better Solutions To Market?’ ASME-‘Journal of Medical Devices Volume 7, Issue 3, 1 September

    Matthews, E. (2011) 'Redesigning the A&E Ambulance' in Ambulance Today, Winter 2011,  December   

    Matthews, E,. & Fusari, G. (2011) 'Redesigning the emergency ambulance' in Building Better Healthcare , November

    Matthews, E. (2011)  'Emergency care: Redesigning the emergency ambulance' in World Health Design journal, October 

    Harrow, D,. Coleman, R,. Matthews, E,. Thompson, R. & Swann, D. 'Healthcare on the Move', (2009) Royal College of Art, London ISBN 978-1-905000-79-1

    Matthews, E. 'Sustain Our Nation' - future sustainability of healthcare for Audi Design Foundation (2009)

    Matthews, E,. West, J,. Halls, S. & Coleman, R. (2008) 'Closing the loop: taking evidence-based designs into manufacture' Improving Patient Safety Conference proceedings July (2008) Ergonomics Society, ISBN 978-0-9554225-2-2

    Matthews, E,. Gheerawo, R. & West, J. (2008) 'Academia and industry: managing knowledge transfer to improve patient safety' International Design Management Institute Education Conference proceedings April 2008

    Harrow, D,. Coleman, R,. Matthews, E. & Thompson, R. (2008), 'Smart Pods': New Vehicle to Take Healthcare to the Community', Improving Patient Safety Conference proceedings July 2008, Ergonomics Society, ISBN 978-0-9554225-2-2

    Matthews, E. (2006) 'Winning Products Born of Technology, Manufacturing and Human Factors', a Thought Leadership article for PA Consulting Group

    Matthews, E. (1997) 'Economic Considerations for Device Design and Development' Article for Medical Device Technology magazine, November 1997, pp18 - 26, published by Octo Media Publications, based on a paper of the same title delivered at the MDT Conference, Olympia, February

    Conference Proceedings
    Mattheews.E. (2012) ‘Enhancing Patient care Through Innovation’, Royal Pharmaceutical Society Annual Conference, London UK, 9 September

    Matthews, E. (2011) 'Ambulance Redesign - Design Story' in proceedings for Include 2011, Royal College of Art, London

    Matthews, E. (2011) 'DOME - Designing Out Medical Error' in proceedings for 23rd Forum of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Orlando, USA, 4-8 December

    TV interview for BBC World (Rockhopper TV) (2011) November 2011
    Keynote Presentations

    Hardy, A., Garety, P., Freeman, D., Kuipers, E., West J., Matthews, E., Jacob, K. and Wojdecka A. (2016) Designing the Future of Talking Therapy: Using digital health to improve outcomes in psychosis. Conference Abstract: 2nd Behaviour Change Conference: Digital Health and Wellbeing. London, United Kingdom, 24-25 February 2016

    Fusari, G., Tomos, H., Matthews, E., Rock, M., Arkle, S. & Wolfson, D. (2015) `Cutting Edge: Understanding advanced surgical processes for total knee replacement through design research,' at Design4Health 2015 Conference, Sheffield, 15 July 2015

    Matthews, E., West J. & Fusari, G. (2015) `Research and Design: How do we combine them to bring better solutions to the market?' at BioTrinity 2015 Conference, London, 12 May 2015

    Matthews, E. (2013) ‘Inclusive Design - a People-Centred Approach’, presentation and paper at MICA Conference, BrazilMatthews, E. (2013) ‘User Engagement: The “Magic Ingredient” In Designing And Commercialising Successful Healthcare Products’, presentation at Design of Medical Devices Conference, University of Minnesota, USA

    Matthews, E. (2012) ‘Shaping the Future - Evidence-Based Design from User-Centred Research’, presentation and paper, Council of Ambulance Authorities Conference, Hobart, Australia

    Matthews, E. (2012) 'The Problem Comes First' Designing for an Ageing Population, Bath, 3 March

    Matthews, E. (2012) 'Enhancing patient care through innovation' Royal Pharmaceutical Society Annual Conference, 9 September

    Matthews, E. (2012) 'Making a Difference' Human Factors & Ergonomics Society of America,12-14 March

    Matthews, E. & West, J. DOME - Designing Out Medical Error, poster session presented at 23rd Forum of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Orlando, USA, November 2011

    Matthews, E. 'Ambulance Redesign' project presentation at Victor J Papanek Design Redux Awards, Vienna, Austria, November 2011

    Matthews, E. DOME: Designing Out Medical Error, Design & Health, Boston July 2011

    Matthews, E. Redesigning the Ambulance: a building block for Social Innovation in healthcare, Include 2011, RCA London,

    Matthews, E. Academia and industry: managing knowledge transfer to improve patient safety, Design Management Institute, Paris 2008

    Matthews, E. Closing the Loop: Taking Evidence-Based Designs into Manufacture', Ergonomics Society IPS2008 Cambridge

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