Human factors and the safety of surgical and anaesthetic care
Safety of patients in the operating theatre relies on a cordial and efficient working relationship between all members of the theatre team. A team that communicates well, defines the roles of its members and is aware of their limitations will provide safe patient care. In this review, we will examine how human factors engineering – the science of how to design processes, equipment and environments to optimise the human contributions to performance – can be used to improve safety and efficiency of surgery. Although these are often dismissed as ‘common sense’, we will explain how these solutions emerge not from healthcare but from diverse disciplines such as psychology, design and engineering.