Posts Tagged ‘human factors’

Health Care Comes Home: The Human Factors

by the National Research Council (
National Academy of Sciences • National Academy of Engineering • Institute of Medicine • National Research Council

Health Care Comes HomeHealth Care Comes Home: The Human Factors

In the United States, health care practices and associated medical devices and information technologies are rapidly moving into the home. This transition, which is likely to accelerate in the future, has raised a host of issues. Care recipients and caregivers have particular capabilities and limitations that can shape home health care processes and procedures. Very few homes have been designed for the delivery of health care. Yet the aging of the population, changes in medical practices, and reductions in health care reimbursement are leading to greater reliance on care at home. Medical equipment and technologies that are designed for hospitals and clinics can be ill-suited for use in the home. The physical and social environment can support or detract from home health care. The rapid growth of home health care has and will have wide-ranging consequences.

The safety, quality, and effectiveness of home health care can be informed by many issues encompassed by the field of human factors research and practice—which studies human capabilities and limitations and their interaction with the design of products, processes, systems, and work environments. For that reason, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality asked the Board on Human-Systems Integration of the National Research Council to conduct a systematic investigation of the role of human factors in home health care. In response, the multidisciplinary Committee on the Role of Human Factors in Home Healthcare was formed to examine a diverse range of behavioral and human factors issues resulting from the increasing migration of medical devices, technologies, and care practices into the home. Its goal was to lay the groundwork for a thorough integration of human factors knowledge and research with the design and implementation of home health care devices, systems, technologies, and practices.

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