Human factors and ergonomics as a patient safety practice

BMJ Qual Saf. 2014 Mar;23(3):196-205. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2013-001812. Epub 2013 Jun 28.


Background: Human factors and ergonomics (HFE) approaches to patient safety have addressed five different domains: usability of technology; human error and its role in patient safety; the role of healthcare worker performance in patient safety; system resilience; and HFE systems approaches to patient safety.

Methods: A review of various HFE approaches to patient safety and studies on HFE interventions was conducted.

Results: This paper describes specific examples of HFE-based interventions for patient safety. Studies show that HFE can be used in a variety of domains.

Conclusions: HFE is a core element of patient safety improvement. Therefore, every effort should be made to support HFE applications in patient safety.

Keywords: Human error; Human factors; Patient safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Ergonomics*
  • Facility Design and Construction
  • Group Processes
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Medical Informatics
  • Patient Safety*
  • Quality Improvement
  • Risk Assessment