Human factors in healthcare

Humans are unique. We are unique in our ability to process information, how we are distractible, and how we perceive situations and our surroundings. And this is key in healthcare and how we interpret healthcare scenarios. 

The World Health Organization explores this by stating, “We define human factors as the study of all the factors that make it easier to do the work in the right way.”

In discussing human behaviour in the Hygiene and infection prevention network podcast, Dr Kelly Schmidtke shares how our brain functions in decision-making, stating, “Our brain doesn’t make decisions, we make decisions, as people. And we have to own our decisions, not cast them off to our brain did all the hard work for us […] You’re the holistic thing.”

Human factors and their study, otherwise dubbed ergonomics, is often applied to where people work, and in science, it often has more important and impactful consequences in their application. 

One such consideration to this important topic is technology. “The technological revolution in health care has increased the relevance of human factors in errors because the potential for harm is great when technology is mishandled.”

One huge benefit of integrating technology in healthcare is how it simplifies processes. This allows healthcare workers to do what they do best, patient care. Gone should be the days of burdensome paperwork, administrative oversights, and tasks unrelated to patient support for healthcare workers. Especially when technological advancements, like Sani Nudge’s hand hygiene improvement system, have proven to reduce costs and improve patient safety.

In the article on the importance of human factors to patient care summarizes that the “understanding the interaction and interrelationships between humans and the tools and machines they use. Understanding the inevitability of error and the range of human capabilities and responses in any given situation is essential to knowing how applying human factors engineering principles can improve health care.”

At the root of care has always been the human factor. To make advancements. First, we need first to understand how they impact change and invest in solutions that bear them in mind in improvement work. 

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