President and CEO of Halldale Group Andy Smith discusses the importance of Human Factors and how it relates to the health care industry as Johns Hopkins Medicine hosts an upcoming course on the subject:

"Hospital Patient care is one of the most demanding and difficult tasks in modern life involving large numbers of people over extended periods in a potentially dangerous environment.

"While each medical care professional maybe well trained, capable and dedicated, successful outcomes depend on all medical professionals getting it right all the time and, of course, the patient also doing as they are requested.

"With upwards of 30 staff involved in the care of each patient, a 100% success rate, 100% of the time is simply impossible. There is however a far better chance of success if a safety system is put in place that makes it far less likely for errors to be made, and if they are, for checks to be put in place to catch them prior to harm.

"Human Factors is a critical element of the system and a proven field of effort that has reduced error in every safety critical endeavor to which it has been applied.  

“Healthcare is a team sport, train as a team, act as a team, succeed as a team,” said Smith. 

To further educate healthcare professionals on the importance of human factors in health care, Johns Hopkins Medicine is hosting a workshop titled, “Improving Patient Safety with Human Factors Methods”. The workshop will be held on 19, 26, and 30 September 2022.

This workshop focuses on the use of human factors engineering methods to identify and mitigate system problems that cause human errors and patient safety hazards in health care. Basic principles and a variety of human factors tools are discussed and demonstrated through hands-on exercises and examples.

As health care delivery processes and technologies become increasingly complex, human factors engineering has proven a powerful approach for proactively reducing harm. These methods can be applied to a range of patient safety improvement efforts, such as identifying design flaws in medical devices, enhancing caregiver-technology interaction, evaluating health information technology solutions, designing less error-prone processes of care, and improving the quality of root-cause analyses.

Objectives of the workshop include appropriately define the term human factors; recognizing and explaining how human factors can be used within high-risk industries such as health care; applying human factors methods to proactively identify contributing factors of broken systems; and planning an approach to fix the identified factors in the broken system with the goal of reducing human errors and improving organizational performance.

This course is intended for health care professionals including executives, frontline clinical staff, patient safety specialists, pharmacists, quality improvement professionals, unit-based safety champions, clinical engineers, ergonomists, programmers, biomedical engineers, risk managers, regulatory affairs specialists, government agency personnel, and anyone involved in developing, evaluating, approving or procuring medical devices or health IT systems.

To reserve your spot for the course, please enroll on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.