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Human factors engineering or ergonomics (HFE) is a scientific discipline broadly focused on interactions among humans and other elements of a system.
Dr. Pascale Carayon, PhD, is a professor emerita in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the founding director of the Wisconsin Institute for Healthcare Systems Engineering (WIHSE). Dr. Nicole Werner, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Health and Wellness Design at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington. We spoke with both of them about the role of human factors engineering has in improving healthcare delivery and its role in patient safety.
A 58-year-old man underwent a complex surgery to replace his aortic valve. The surgery required prolonged cardiopulmonary bypass time and cross-clamp time and there was a short delay in redosing the cardioplegic solution and the patient developed “stone heart” due to suspected ischemic injury and was unable to come off bypass. The patient was placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and transported to the ICU to allow family members to see the patient before stopping life support.
Jean-Pierre P. Boston U Law Rev. 2022; 102(1):327-392.
Kirkup B. Department of Health and Social Care. London, England: Crown Copyright; 2022. ISBN: 9781528636759.
Washington, DC: Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General; 2022. Report No. 22-00818-03.
Rapid response teams are intended to improve timely identification and management of clinically deteriorating patients, such as in-hospital cardiac arrest or stroke.
While electronic health records, computerized provider order entry, and clinical decision support have increased patient safety, they can also create new challenges such as alert fatigue. One medical center developed and implemented a program to identify and reduce the number of alerts clinicians encounter every day.