5 thoughts from an Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award winner

In April, the Joint Commission recognized Pascale Carayon, PhD, with the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for individual achievement. Now, Dr. Carayon has shared some of her thoughts on patient safety with the Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

Dr. Carayon is the Procter & Gamble Bascom Professor in Total Quality in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. She received the Eisenberg award for using human factors engineering and the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety model to advance the field of patient safety and quality.

Highlighted below are five thoughts on using human factors engineering in healthcare and patient safety from Dr. Carayon, as outlined in the Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

1. On how human factors engineering, or HFE, relates to safety:
"…Human factors, like patient safety, is about people. And so trying to address patient safety requires consideration of how people interact with each other, which involves technologies, the physical environment and their joint performance of tasks — all within an organization."

2. On HFE hiring trends in healthcare:
"We're seeing more and more human factors engineers being hired by healthcare organizations, and in different parts of healthcare organizations, including patient safety, risk management, quality improvement [and] implementation of information technology."

3. On whether patient safety has improved across the industry:
"I do think that patient safety has improved simply by virtue of the fact that it's being recognized as a major problem, with the involvement of experts in human factors and industrial engineering in general, organizational design, high-reliability organizations, safety culture and so on to contribute to solutions. So, to me, this is a good sign that we're developing a more sophisticated and more appropriate approach to patient safety."

4. On using health IT in to improve patient care:
"It makes sense to me to gravitate toward health IT, for the potential increases in efficiency, effectiveness and safety, but we really haven't reached those benefits. There are pockets here and there. But then you hear about more problems…We've got to do better. Engineers know how to do that, so to me, it just makes sense."

5. On staying motivated in healthcare:
"I think that what motivates me is when I try to get people to take a different approach, as in a human factors engineering-based solution, and that they respond, 'oh, yeah, that makes sense.'…To me, that's what is very satisfactory, is really changing that mental model and seeing those a-ha moments."

To learn more about the project that earned Dr. Carayon the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for individual achievement, click here.

To access the full Journal on Quality and Patient Safety interview, click here.



More articles on patient safety:
Patient safety tool: ECRI podcast on reducing opioid-related harms
The distracted hospital: Implications for patient and staff safety
Patient safety tool: Lucian Leape Institute publishes safety report compilation

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