BMJ Qual Saf. 2013 Oct;22(10):802-8. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001450. Epub 2013 Apr 16.
The science of human factors: separating fact from fiction.
Interest in human factors has increased across healthcare communities and institutions as the value of human centred design in healthcare becomes increasingly clear. However, as human factors is becoming more prominent, there is growing evidence of confusion about human factors science, both anecdotally and in scientific literature. Some of the misconceptions about human factors may inadvertently create missed opportunities for healthcare improvement.
The objective of this article is to describe the scientific discipline of human factors and provide common ground for partnerships between healthcare and human factors communities.
The primary goal of human factors science is to promote efficiency, safety and effectiveness by improving the design of technologies, processes and work systems. As described in this article, human factors also provides insight on when training is likely (or unlikely) to be effective for improving patient safety. Finally, we outline human factors specialty areas that may be particularly relevant for improving healthcare delivery and provide examples to demonstrate their value.
The human factors concepts presented in this article may foster interdisciplinary collaborations to yield new, sustainable solutions for healthcare quality and patient safety.
Human error, Human factors, Information technology, Patient safety, Quality improvement
- Response to separating fact from opinion: a response to 'the science of human factors: separating fact from fiction'. [BMJ Qual Saf. 2013]
- Separating fact from opinion: a response to 'The science of human factors: separating fact from fiction'. [BMJ Qual Saf. 2013]
- Spreading human factors expertise in healthcare: untangling the knots in people and systems. [BMJ Qual Saf. 2013]
- [PubMed - in process]