Healthcare Sector

Sharing understanding about patient and health worker safety

Healthcare human factors

Health and social care is complex. It involves multitudes of different systems which all need to work together to enable successful outcomes. Human factors can be applied to physical elements of systems such as medical device design and layout of emergency departments for example. It can be applied to procedures, instructions, labelling and signage - and to lighting, temperature and noise.

In the centre of all this, are people - the patients, healthcare professionals and supporting teams of workers. Human factors can help them through a focus on fatigue management, teamwork, communication and leadership, for example. Healthcare systems that are designed with people in mind will see greater patient safety and improved worker health and wellbeing.

In a sector where making the right decisions can literally be the difference between life and death, human factors can be used to reveal underlying causes of incidents, such as poor product design. But there are invariably many other factors that play a part in bringing about an incident which can be explored through application of human factors tools and techniques. It can lead to an understanding of the relevance and importance of each factor and how they combine to bring about a particular outcome at a particular time in a particular set of circumstances.

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