The Impact of Human Factors on the Safety of Operating Rooms & Everyday Surgical Practice

Evnia news


Journal of Advanced Research in Medical Science & Technology Volume 7, Issue 1&2 – 2020, Pg. No. 8-16
Peer Reviewed & Open Access Journal

Authors: Vasiliki Valla, Angeliki Koukoura, Amy Lewis, Benedicte Dahlerup, Georgios Ioannis Tsianos, Efstathios Vassiliadis
Evnia, Copenhagen Business Center, Hellerup Strandvejen 60, 2900, Denmark.



Our latest article on the impact of human factors on the safety of operating rooms (OR) & surgical practice has just been published! Our goal has been to identify the main flow distractions, associated with the surgical practice, and to discuss the Human Factor (HF) strategies to mitigate intra-operative risk and error-prone processes. The modern OR is a socio-technical milieu with cognitive traits and increased situational awareness needs. Therefore, a shift towards efficient reporting and the enhancement of the Human-Machine Interface (HMI) reflect an efficient strategy for the improvement of clinical outcomes and the establishment of a sustainable, safe environment for patients and medical staff.


Human Factors Engineering (HFE) principles were initially implemented in safety-related procedures in aviation and other high-risk industries to minimize human error-related risks. The introduction of HFE in healthcare aims not to eliminate the ‘human factor,’ but rather to enable ‘engineering’ to redesign clinical settings to become resilient to unanticipated events related to operational and/or safety shortcomings. Given the complexity of the Operating Room (OR) and the socio-technico-cognitive activities that occur during a surgical operation, HFE needs to consider a wide spectrum of Surgical Flow Disruptions (SFD), such as miscommunications, fatigue, workload, physical layout of the site etc. The increase of fully automated/computer-assisted surgical systems into everyday surgical practice highlights the need for specialized technical skills and a subsequent change in mind-set and intraoperative decision-making. The complexity of the modern OR calls out for incorporation of a culture safety also illustrated by the close interaction of Usability Engineering (UE) and Risk Management (RM) throughout the lifecycle of a medical system and by Regulations currently in force. This article discusses the practical parameters of HFE incorporation into surgical practice and aims to highlight how this holistic redefinition of OR settings promotes patient and medical staff safety through the mitigation of error-prone processes.

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