‘Human Factors’ (Human Factors Science, Human Factors Engineering) are the things which influence the interactions between humans and systems (machines or organisations). The study of these influences is of interest to industries such as aviation, nuclear energy and the military stimulated by awareness that the consequences of unmitigated error may be disastrous and associated with a great deal of adverse publicity.
Human Factors are important when it comes to thinking about efficiency and error in hospitals. After all, hospitals are very complex organisations and patients are varied and variable.
Situational Awareness is a description of how we individually and in teams become aware of what is going on. It is useful to ask three questions when confronted with a potentially confusing circumstance:
What has happened?
What is happening?
What might happen?
If you are interested in knowing more about Human Factors in healthcare click on this link to the Patient Safety First campaign.