Human factors and ergonomics in the emergency department

Ann Emerg Med. 2002 Aug;40(2):206-12. doi: 10.1067/mem.2002.124900.


Although health care rapidly adopts technologic advances from other fields, it has been slow to incorporate well-established principles from human factors engineering into the health care workplace. This article demonstrates some of those principles by analyzing an all too routine clinical event from a human factors point of view. Review of this case and ergonomic principles leads us to conclude that the routine application of human factors engineering principles could improve patient safety and would likely improve system efficiency as well.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure Monitors / standards
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Equipment Design / standards*
  • Equipment Failure
  • Ergonomics*
  • Hospital Administration
  • Hospital Design and Construction / standards*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / therapy
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation
  • Male
  • Medical Errors
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / instrumentation