Human Factors 101
Affordances and Constraints Improve Reliability
In the first article in this series, we introduced concepts of human factors engineering (HFE) and their application to healthcare. We discussed how healthcare traditionally relies on the “weak aspects of cognition” (short term memory, attention to details, vigilance, multitasking etc.) and how that contributes to many of the errors experienced in healthcare.
The Canadian government agency Health Canada issued a reminder to hospitals
last fall on the risk of entrapment of patients in hospital beds. This
notice raises again what should by now be a well known hazard.
The short-acting, reversible anticoagulant heparin is widely used in hospitalized patients to prevent the development or extension of potentially life-threatening blood clots. However, numerous issues make the use of this high-risk agent particularly challenging and error-prone.