Using human factors engineering to improve the effectiveness of infection prevention and control

Crit Care Med. 2010 Aug;38(8 Suppl):S269-81. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3181e6a058.


Human factors engineering is a discipline that studies the capabilities and limitations of humans and the design of devices and systems for improved performance. The principles of human factors engineering can be applied to infection prevention and control to study the interaction between the healthcare worker and the system that he or she is working with, including the use of devices, the built environment, and the demands and complexities of patient care. Some key challenges in infection prevention, such as delayed feedback to healthcare workers, high cognitive workload, and poor ergonomic design, are explained, as is how human factors engineering can be used for improvement and increased compliance with practices to prevent hospital-acquired infections.

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Checklist
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Cues
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Equipment Design
  • Ergonomics*
  • Facility Design and Construction
  • Feedback
  • Hand Disinfection
  • Humans
  • Infection Control*
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Manikins
  • Motivation
  • Patients' Rooms
  • Problem Solving
  • Program Evaluation
  • Quality Control
  • Time Factors
  • Time and Motion Studies
  • Workload