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Logo of qualsafetyQuality and Safety in Health CareCurrent TOCInstructions for authors
 
Qual Saf Health Care. 2002 December; 11(4): 352–354.
PMCID: PMC1758019

Human factors engineering and patient safety

Abstract



The case study and analyses presented here illustrate the crucial role of human factors engineering (HFE) in patient safety. HFE is a framework for efficient and constructive thinking which includes methods and tools to help healthcare teams perform patient safety analyses, such as root cause analyses. The literature on HFE over several decades contains theories and applied studies to help to solve difficult patient safety problems and design issues. A case study is presented which illustrates the vulnerabilities of human factors design in a transport monitor. The subsequent analysis highlights how to move beyond the more obvious contributing factors like training to design problems and the establishment of informal norms. General advice is offered to address these issues and design issues specific to this case are discussed.


Articles from Quality & Safety in Health Care are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group