The healthcare industry is gradually recognising the benefit of human factors engineering when introducing safety systems. Traditionally there has been a reliance on solutions that increase staff members accountability (policies, protocols, guidelines).

The overwhelming majority of healthcare staff are extremely conscientious and hard working, however they will still make mistakes.

‘It is human to err.’

We must aim to ensure that when these inevitable errors occur they do not lead to patient harm. Below is a selection of useful resources reviewing how human factors can improve safety in health care:

The Hierarchy of Intervention Effectiveness – This diagram neatly shows the effectiveness of different types of intervention.

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed – a fantastic must read book.

The Problem With Root Cause Analysis – BJA Quality and Safety

Improving the Safety of Patients in England – The Berwick Report

From Discovery to Design – The Evolution of Human Factors In Healthcare

Errors in Medicine: A Human Factors Perspective – Excellent article, a must read.

Human Factors – A How To Guide (NHS UK)

Clinical Excellence Commission (Human Factors Page) – Web link to valuable resources from CEC, including PDFs of presentations given by Terry Fairbanks.

Medical Human Factors – Videos

Was it really a miracle on the Hudson? Aviation meets healthcare safety – Presentation at National Patient Safety Foundation’s 2012 Meeting on May 24, 2012. Jeff Skiles, First Officer of US Airways Flight 1549, and Rollin “Terry” Fairbanks, physician and healthcare safety expert.

Just Culture by Sydney Dekker – Looks at how to balance safety and accountability.

Hinds: Crack the Chest. Get Crucified – Video illustrating what often happens when you try to implement change.

Clinical Human Factors Website