Author Archives: Jordan Collings

Making it easy to do the right thing with Human Factors

Making it easy to do the right thing with Human Factors

All medical practitioners want to deliver the highest quality care they can to their patients. But all humans make mistakes, especially those working in the highly demanding medical environment. This can sometimes simply be chalked up to “human error” but we can do more. We can improve patient outcomes by developing our understanding of human factors to acknowledge their wide-reaching influence and reduce errors.

Elements such as getting lost in a new hospital, selecting incorrectly labelled apparatus or wrongly using an unfamiliar make of equipment are all human factors that contribute to patient outcomes. Instead of accepting the way things are, we can improve ourselves, our communication, our equipment, our environment and the systems and processes that hold everything together to provide the best care for patients we can.

Putting the human back into healthcare

Healthcare workers are often overstretched and overwhelmed by the intense nature of the work and pressure on resources. Their roles intrinsically demand they make difficult choices in fast changing situations which can negatively impact decision making. This can lead to poorer clinical care and potentially cause harm to patients. Being aware of the human factors shifts the mindset from ‘it’s too difficult’ to ‘what can I change?’. These aren’t medical skills, but “non-technical” skills relating to the better understanding of the effects of stress, concentration, teamwork, culture and other factors on people and their performance.

Learning from the pandemic

Human factors have entered the spotlight in no small part due to the COVID pandemic. Not only has this intense pressure on the healthcare industry highlighted room for improvement, but we’ve also seen how peoples’ environment and circumstances change behaviour. Overwhelmed staff suffering from burnout are all too common after the events of recent years. Even without a pandemic, the rigours of a demanding profession take their toll on staff. Staff being redeployed to unfamiliar surroundings or specialities, and even working in PPE, have all impacted care.

The human factors course that we offer at Miad Healthcare focuses on how to enact behaviour change and make small but important improvements. We ask how individuals are most likely to make a mistake and then offer improvements to reduce the risk of it recurring. This then grows into offering support which may include improved workload and protocols, or stronger leadership and management.

Making a difference

From clinical governance SOP to email memos, we can improve every aspect of our professional lives, not by working harder but by being smart in our choice of communication. Our course looks at changing our mindsets and, in doing so, changing our behaviour with actionable, therapeutic training. Training that teaches staff to analyse mistakes with a mindset of improving and moving forward with a better understanding of best practice.

For example, staff can learn how to seek and trust team advice without hierarchy preventing effective communication or cohesion. By having input from the whole team, we can avoid experience leading to complacency, or inexperience leading to uncertainty, both of which can result in mistakes. In an industry sometimes overburdened with protocol, changing our behaviour to provide the best patient care and safety we can is paramount.

What we can do

At Miad Healthcare we offer an in-depth human factors workshop that covers everything from recognising what human factors are to applying risk reduction to the practical scenarios the attendees face.

The workshop teaches impactful non-technical skills that improve patient outcomes, optimising individual and team contributions to fine tune performance and identifying areas in your own specific workplace that could benefit from focusing on human factors. As one of the key non-technical skills, we consider how to improve wellbeing for your staff which benefits patient care.

For our Human Factors programme outline please click here.

To talk to us about booking this course for your doctors contact us here