Health care interface design essay

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Health care interface design essay

Newborns in a neonatal intensive care unit are given full-dose heparin instead of low-dose flushes, leading to three deaths from intracranial bleeding. An elderly man experiences cardiac arrest while hospitalized, but when the code blue team arrives, they are unable to administer a potentially life-saving shock because the defibrillator pads and the defibrillator itself cannot be physically connected.

Busy health care workers rely on equipment to carry out life-saving interventions, with the underlying assumption that technology will improve outcomes.

But as these examples illustrate, the interaction between workers, the equipment, and their environment can actually increase the risk of disastrous errors.

Each of these safety hazards ultimately was attributed to a relatively simple, yet overlooked problem with equipment design. The bag of epidural anesthetic was similar in size and shape to IV medication bags, and, crucially, the same catheter could access both types of bags.

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Full-dose and prophylactic-dose heparin vials appear virtually identical, and both concentrations are routinely stocked in automated dispensers at the point of care.

Multiple brands of defibrillators exist that differ in physical appearance as well as functionality; a typical hospital may have many different models scattered around the building, sometimes even on the same unit.

Human factors engineering is the discipline that attempts to identify and address these issues. It is the discipline that takes into account human strengths and limitations in the design of interactive systems that involve people, tools and technology, and work environments to ensure safety, effectiveness, and ease of use.

A human factors engineer examines a particular activity in terms of its component tasks, and then assesses the physical demands, skill demands, mental workload, team dynamics, aspects of the work environment e.

In essence, human factors engineering focuses on how systems work in actual practice, with real—and fallible—human beings at the controls, and attempts to design systems that optimize safety and minimize the risk of error in complex environments.

Human factors engineering has long been used to improve safety in many industries outside of health care—it has been employed to analyze errors in aviation, automobiles, and the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident.

Its application to health care is relatively recent; pioneering studies of human factors in anesthesia were integral to the redesign of anesthesia equipment, significantly reducing the risk of injury or death in the operating room.

Applications of Human Factors Engineering to Improving Safety The very nature of human factors engineering precludes "one size fits all" solutions, but several tools and techniques are commonly used as human factors approaches to addressing safety issues.

Usability testing—Human factors engineers test new systems and equipment under real-world conditions as much as possible, in order to identify potential problems and unintended consequences of new technology. One prominent example of the clinical applicability of usability testing involves electronic medical records and computerized provider order entry CPOE.

A recent book discussed a serious medication overdose that occurred in part due to confusing displays in the institution's CPOE system—a vivid example of how failing to use human factors engineering principles in user interface design can potentially harm patients.

Simulated clinical scenarios may be used to conduct usability testing, as was performed in a study that demonstrated that commercial CPOE systems generally did not detect potentially unsafe orders.

Usability testing is also essential for identifying workarounds —the consistent bypassing of policies or safety procedures by frontline workers. Workarounds frequently arise because of flawed or poorly designed systems that actually increase the time necessary for workers to complete a task.

As a result, frontline personnel work around the system in order to get work done efficiently. In the obstetric example above, the hospital had implemented a bar-code system designed to prevent medication administration errors.

However, the system did not reliably scan IV bags. Nurses therefore developed a workaround for urgent situations, whereby they would administer the IV medication without scanning the bar code, and only later manually document its administration.

This workaround was deemed to be a substantial contributor to the ultimately fatal error. Forcing functions—An aspect of a design that prevents an unintended or undesirable action from being performed or allows its performance only if another specific action is performed first.

For example, automobiles are now designed so that the driver cannot shift into reverse without first putting his or her foot on the brake pedal. Forcing functions need not involve device design.

One of the first forcing functions identified in health care was the removal of concentrated potassium from general hospital wards. This action helps prevent the inadvertent addition of concentrated potassium to intravenous solutions prepared by nurses on the wards, an error that has produced small but consistent numbers of deaths for many years.

Health care interface design essay

Standardization—An axiom of human factors engineering is that equipment and processes should be standardized whenever possible, in order to increase reliability, improve information flow, and minimize cross-training needs.

Standardizing equipment across clinical settings as in the defibrillator example above is one basic example, but standardized processes are increasingly being implemented as safety measures.Developing Successful Healthcare Software: 10 Critical Lessons. 3 and user-centered design principles are universal across domains, we believe healthcare projects are different.

cal staff involved in the care of a particular patient should be allowed to access that patient’s file. In this case, only staff meeting defined criterion. Health Care Management. Menu. Home; Faculty. Faculty List; Faculty Awards; Faculty Positions. NIST GCR Technical Basis for User Interface Design of Health IT (link is external) NISTIR Integrating Electronic Health Records into Clinical Workflow: An Application of Human Factors Modeling Methods to Obstetrics and Gynecology and Ophthalmology Specialties (link is external).

“Humana” is the brand name for plans, products, and services provided by one or more of the subsidiaries and affiliate companies of Humana Inc. (“Humana Entities”). Plans, products, and services are solely and only provided by one or more Humana Entities specified on the plan, product, or.

The health disparities refers to specific differences in disease incidence, health outcomes, quality of health care and access to health care services that exist across racial and . Sometimes, small tweaks can make a big difference, and according to Bob Hunchberger, a clinical informaticist for a bed hospital, that couldn't be truer when it comes to your EHR.

He suggests five dos and don'ts of EHR interface design.

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