Three Human Factors Practices That Are Impacting Healthcare

December 5, 2012

#1: Holistic evaluation of the healthcare systems to understand its impact on human interaction.

The sum does in fact equal all parts. There is increasing awareness and interest in examining healthcare problems holistically. Be it a study on the impact of interruptions on workflow to the proposal for a HealthcareFMEA, or an engineering initiative at a nearby hospital to examine an integrated network of people, technology, tools and tasks; whole systems need and their impact on human interaction must be considered.

#2: Simulation is both valuable and important

Good simulation tools are critical and expected in the practice of human factors to gather valid data. Going as far as using a life size mockup of a public transportation bus to understand behaviors of visually impaired passengers can generate fruitful insights… similarly we have created entire Trauma Bay units entirely out of Foam Core to define current unmet needs of trauma care providers and to enable trauma teams to do what they do best; deliver time sensitive care in a chaotic environment.

#3: Deploying theoretical frameworks and paradigms unpack decision-making steps

The development and use of cognitive decision making models advances design and engineering outcomes. By interrogating and deconstructing how users rationally and emotionally make decisions, evaluate choices and approach tasks, solutions that address individual cognitive stages can be more focused and effective. This is evidenced in two examples cited at the HFES conference this past October-1) the study of how well a user successfully reaches a 3D target using a 2D visual image and 2) a study that measured the perceived urgency of different vibro-tactile frequencies.