Human Factors Network

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Health Education England
North East Human Factors Network

'Enhancing clinical performance through an understanding of the effects of teamwork, tasks, equipment, workspace, culture, organisation on human behaviour and abilities, and application of that knowledge in clinical settings.” 

Dr Ken Catchpole.

Human Factors, also called Ergonomics, brings together a variety of different scientific disciplines (e.g. psychology, anatomy, biomechanics, engineering) that provide an explanation of how humans function. Humans are inherently fallible, and prone to make mistakes. Most of this error exists because of the limitations of human cognition – we have limited memory, we rely on pattern recognition, and carry out familiar tasks without needing to think about them. Some aspects of human performance can be improved by improving teamwork - simulation traditionally deals with this. Human Factors includes teamwork and non-technical skills, but also encompasses how humans interact with the working environment, equipment and technology. By addressing these additional areas, it is possible to design the workspace and processes to minimise the error that arises simply because we are human. Getting the human factors right minimises error, and maximises performance.

It makes it easier to do the right thing, and harder to do the wrong thing.

The HEE NE Human Factors Network was established to support the HEE NE Faculty of Patient Safety in delivering the Patient Safety Agenda via Human Factors training.

The HEE NE HF Network is currently working on the following areas:

  • Building a knowledgeable and effective HF faculty that can enhance the delivery of safe effective healthcare. We run a variety of conferences and CPD events and informal meetings.
  • Supporting Patient Safety initiatives by providing relevant human factors training to support these projects.
  • Supporting dissemination of projects from the Human Factors PgC & publicise existing HF work throughout the region.
  • Working with Postgraduate schools  of medicine to develop and deliver training for trainee doctors.
  • Developing training for all healthcare staff, from awareness through to Masters level courses and qualifications.

North East Human Factors Steering Group

The role of the Human Factors Network is to support the HEE NE Faculty of Patient Safety in delivering the Patient Safety Agenda via Human Factors training, in order to contribute towards the delivery of high quality compassionate patient care within the region.

The key responsibilities of the Human Factors Network will be to:

  • To bring together all interested stakeholders and education providers to firmly establish a robust effective platform on which to manage, develop and share regional activity. 
  • Establish information and resource sharing fostering collaboration across all professional groups and organisational boundaries.
  • Formulate and monitor strategies, policies and procedures relating to Human Factors and patient safety.
  • Advise the Faculty of Patient Safety on Human Factors as a tool for Quality improvement and enhancement of patient safety.
  • Work alongside Postgraduate schools of medicine in scoping and understanding current provision and future need of Human Factors.
  • Work alongside Local Education Providers to re-design processes to introduce improvements and effectiveness.
  • The Human Factors Network will work closely with the Patient Safety Collaborative and Education & Training for Patient Safety Steering group’ setting the direction of the work streams, in combination with curricular and regulatory requirements.

Dr Dave Murray
Consultant Anaesthetist
James Cook University Hospital.