Last year, the BMJ Quality & Safety journal published an article that sought to “…describe the scientific discipline of human factors and provide common ground for partnerships between healthcare and human factors communities” (p. 802).
Among many important points, the authors highlighted five facts – and their corresponding fictions – that needed clarification. The facts include:
Fact 1: Human factors is about designing systems that are resilient to unanticipated events.
Fact 2: Human factors addresses problems by modifying the design of the system to better aid people.
Fact 3: Human factors work ranges from the individual to the organizational level.
Fact 4: Human factors is a scientific discipline that requires years of training; most human factors professionals hold relevant graduate degrees.
Fact 5: Human factors professionals are bound together by the common goal of improving design for human use, but represent different specialty areas and methodological skills sets.
Overall, this is a great introductory article for those in the health care profession that are just learning about the discipline of human factors.
Russ, A.L., Fairbanks, R.J., Karsh, B., Militello, L.G., Saleem, J.J., & Wears, R.L. (2013). The science of human factors: Separating fact from fiction. BMJ Quality & Safety, 22, 803-808.