Human Factors Engineering for the Pediatric Hospitalist

Hosp Pediatr. 2023 Nov 1;13(11):e365-e370. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2023-007258.


As pediatrics hospitalists, we care for a diverse population of hospitalized children with increasing acuity and complexity in large, multidisciplinary medical teams. In this Method/ology paper, we summarize how human factors engineering (HFE) can provide a framework and tools to help us understand and improve our complex care processes and resulting outcomes. First, we define and discuss the 3 domains of HFE (ie, physical, cognitive, and organizational) and offer examples of HFE's application to pediatric hospital medicine. Next, we highlight an HFE-based framework, the Systems Engineering for Patient Safety model, which conceptualizes how our work system shapes health care processes and outcomes. We provide tools for leveraging this model to better understand the context in which our work is done, which, consequently, informs how we design our systems and processes to improve the quality and safety of care. Finally, we outline the basics of human-centered design and highlight a case study of a project completed in a pediatric hospital setting focused on making rounds more family-centered. In addition, we provide resources for those interested in learning more about HFE.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Ergonomics
  • Hospital Medicine*
  • Hospitalists*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans