Human Factors/Ergonomics is a scientific discipline which is all about people and the way we interact with other people, equipment, tasks, processes and environments. Human Factors specialists aim to help us become more efficient, improve safety and comfort and increase resilience.
Human Factors is a bridging discipline, taking elements of psychology, engineering, biomechanics, physiology, anthropometry, sociology, and design to ensure that what is being designed complements the strengths and abilities of people and minimises the effects of their limitations. Some say that good Human Factors helps people to succeed and poor Human Factors or the absence of Human Factors causes people to make mistakes and get tripped up.
In healthcare, Human Factors can be applied in a number of different areas such as:
- improving the design and usability of medical devices such as infusion pumps or patient trolleys
- improving patient flow through an Emergency Department
- creating clear, accessible and easy to use SOPs to support staff with tasks
- using a systems approach to incident investigation;
- improving the layout of working environments to improve posture and reduce musculoskeletal discomfort at work
- working collaboratively with software designers to develop IT systems that support all users in their work