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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.
Appropriate follow-up of incidental abnormal radiological findings is an ongoing patient safety challenge. Inadequate follow-up can contribute to missed or delayed diagnosis, potentially resulting in poorer patient outcomes. This study describes implementation of an electronic health record-based referral system for patients with incidental radiologic finding in the emergency room.
A 61-year-old women with a mechanical aortic valve on chronic warfarin therapy was referred to the emergency department (ED) for urgent computed tomography (CT) imaging of the right leg to rule out an arterial clot. CT imaging revealed two arterial thromboses the right lower extremity and an echocardiogram revealed a thrombus near the prosthetic heart valve. The attending physician ordered discontinuation of warfarin and initiation of a heparin drip.
A 61-year-old inpatient was on bedrest following postoperative complications. During the night shift, the hospital unit was short-staffed, and her external catheter system fell off. The patient rang her call button repeatedly to request nursing assistance and eventually hopped down the hallway on one leg to find assistance but was unsuccessful. By the time the nurse came to the bedside to change the patient’s urine-soaked bed pads and sheets, the patient was angry and agitated.
Tahir D. Kaiser Health News. September 26, 2022.
Jefs L, Kuluski K, MacLaurin A, et al. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Healthcare Excellence Canada; 2022.