Human Factors and Ergonomics 101: Their Role In Healthcare Delivery and Application in Real World Settings

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Human Factors

Sandra Garrett
Assistant Professor
Clemson University

Lesley Strawderman
Assistant Professor
Mississippi State University

Ashley Benedict
Ph.D. Candidate
Purdue University

The use of human factors and ergonomics (HFE) in healthcare allows practitioners and process improvement engineers to realize improvements in efficiency, safety, and productivity. This session will demonstrate a number of basic HFE concepts that can be applied to healthcare. Topics include physical ergonomics, information processing, human-computer interaction and safety.

Human factors and ergonomics (HFE) is defined as the application of knowledge regarding humans capabilities, limitations, and attributes to the design of effective, efficient and safe systems. In healthcare, HFE can be applied to a wide variety of settings, ranging from the ED to ambulatory care. This session will highlight a number of HFE principles that can be incorporated into existing and future healthcare improvement projects. Specific topics include the following: "Physical ergonomics: NIOSH lifting guidelines, fatigue, work/rest schedules;" "Human error: classification and prevention;" "Cognitive abilities and limitations: Information processing;" and "Human computer interaction: design of technology and interfaces."

This session is designed to give both healthcare practitioners as well as engineers an introduction to HFE concepts. The audience will then be able to apply these concepts at their home institutions to create a healthcare system with the human in mind.