Human factors and systems engineering approach to patient safety for radiotherapy

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008;71(1 Suppl):S174-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2007.06.088.


The traditional approach to solving patient safety problems in healthcare is to blame the last person to touch the patient. But since the publication of To Err is Human, the call has been instead to use human factors and systems engineering methods and principles to solve patient safety problems. However, an understanding of the human factors and systems engineering is lacking, and confusion remains about what it means to apply their principles. This paper provides a primer on them and their applications to patient safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Ergonomics / methods*
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Mental Processes*
  • Radiotherapy / standards*
  • Safety
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Social Environment
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Integration
  • Systems Theory
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Total Quality Management / methods