Safety. Science. Solutions.
I’m the Principal human factors engineer behind Healthcare Safety Strategies, LLC. I’ve been a human factors engineer for a while now (my first graduate degree in the field was in 1992 and the second was in 1996) and in every project I’ve ever worked on I see the same thing: Dedicated, caring professionals working every day to do their best job. I’ve worked with amazingly caring individuals in the auto, aviation, and healthcare industries, all tirelessly dedicated to developing superior products or delivering superior healthcare.
With all of this passion about developing the best products and delivering the best patient care, one may ask, “Why is the healthcare industry still struggling to reduce adverse events?” That’s a fair question. After so many years since the release of the 2000 IOM report “To Err is Human”, why do errors occur in hospitals that result in harming, as opposed to healing, patients?
Depending on how familiar you are with the field of human factors engineering, the answer to those questions may surprise you; however, my response is always this: Let’s take a step back.
If we are going to take the leap and assume that everyone came to work to do their best job, I always ask my clients to think about what else may be happening. What are the processes in place? What technology is being used and how? What is the Health IT like? What policies are on the books? What is the organizational structure to support the work? In other words, what is the SYSTEM that is in place to do the job that needs to be done?
Helping your organization to figure these things out is where I would like to be of assistance. Healthcare providers do not go to work intending to make errors that result in the harm of a patient. Pharmaceutical companies do not want to make a drug that is not used as intended. Medical device manufacturers do not want to design a device that leads to inadvertent errors. In fact, I’m willing to bet that the ideas for medical devices are born from the desire to make caring for patients even easier and less error prone.
The safety science of Human Factors Engineering provides well-established, rigorous processes for (proactively) predicting where an error might occur or for (reactively) uncovering why a medical error did occur. These established processes will point you to the solutions to reduce risk in the future. HFE provides the methods and tools for the test and evaluation of medical drugs and devices to ensure that use risks are identified and mitigated. (What a great perk that these processes also help a product through FDA review processes!)
If you would like to talk to me more about human factors engineering and how it may help your organization, please contact me through my contact page, my email at Vicki.R.Lewis@hfehss.com, or LinkedIn. I’d like to put my experience conducting adverse event reviews and usability evaluations to work for you. If you are in need of a meeting or workshop speaker to talk to your organization or professional society about human factors engineering and healthcare, please let me know. If you’d like to see a more formal resume that covers my research, training, and publication history, I’m happy to provide one.
Thank you for your interest in Healthcare Safety Strategies, LLC.