Reflective analysis of safety research in the hospital accident & emergency departments

Appl Ergon. 2010 Sep;41(5):695-700. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2009.12.006. Epub 2010 Jan 20.


Providing health care in emergency settings is complex, hazardous work that is vulnerable to failure. Human factors and ergonomics studies of hazardous work in other settings have produced useful insights, innovations, and contributions to improving safety in those fields, so there is great interest in applying similar methods to the study of clinical work. However, the clinical environment presents some unique challenges to researchers. We discuss some of those challenges, based on our experience in conducting a variety of studies in the emergency setting in the US and UK, and offer suggestions for future work in this area.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents*
  • Education Department, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ergonomics / methods*
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Models, Organizational
  • Organizational Culture
  • Patient Care / methods
  • Program Evaluation
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • United Kingdom
  • United States