Physical distancing for care delivery in health care settings: Considerations and consequences

Am J Infect Control. 2021 Aug;49(8):1085-1088. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2020.12.014. Epub 2020 Dec 24.


As health care systems explore new ways of delivering care for patients with and without COVID-19, they must consider how to maintain physical distancing among health care workers and patients. Physical distancing in high complexity systems such as health care is particularly challenging and may benefit from a human factors and systems engineering perspective. We discuss challenges to implementing and maintaining physical distancing in health care settings and present possible solutions from a human factors and systems engineering perspective.

Keywords: COVID-19; Disease transmission; Social distancing; Systems engineering initiative for patient safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Health Facilities
  • Humans
  • Physical Distancing*
  • SARS-CoV-2