Human Factors are organisational, individual, environmental, and job characteristics that influence behaviour in ways that can impact safety; in clinical and healthcare contexts that means lives are at stake. It is a discipline that considers both the physical and mental characteristics of people as well as the organisational factors or wider socio-technical system.
It is the application of scientific methods to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, equipment, environments and systems to make them more compatible with the needs, capabilities and limitations of people.
In healthcare Human Factors can improve human performance, optimise well-being, improve both staff and patient safety and experience and improve the overall system performance.
When applied systematically throughout the organisation, Human Factors, has the biggest impact. Managing human failures is essential to prevent major accidents, occupational accidents and ill health, all of which can cost money, reputation and potentially their continued existence, and nowhere more than in The Medical Profession.
Human Factors or CRM (Crew/Cockpit Resource Management) Training is mandated through most of the worlds aviation governing bodies for the good reason that it has been instrumental in reducing aircraft hull losses from almost one per week to virtually nil. We can see that this result is a spectacular win for Airlines - both commercially and reputationally.
The term "human factors" has grown increasingly popular as the commercial aviation industry has realised that human error, rather than mechanical failure, underlies most aviation accidents and incidents.
Human factors involves gathering information about human abilities, limitations, and other characteristics and applying it to tools, machines, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments to produce safe, comfortable, and effective human use. In medicine, human factors is dedicated to better understanding how humans can most safely and efficiently be integrated with the technology. That understanding is then translated into design, training, policies, or procedures to help humans perform better.
Successful organisations achieve high productivity and quality while ensuring health and safety. Good technology combined with the best work systems can help to achieve these goals.
The influence of biological, psychological and organisational factors on an individual at work can affect their health and safety, but it also affects their efficiency and productivity. These hard-won lessons translate directly to the Medical Profession and will make critical differences to performance and safety.
Ad Astra Human Performance Ltd is accredited by the CPD Standards Office