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Human Factors in a Healthcare Environment

Learn how the study of human factors can reduce error in healthcare with this course for healthcare professionals.

10,669 enrolled on this course

Human Factors in a Healthcare Environment

Discover how understanding human factors can improve patient safety

Human factors is the study of how humans behave and interact with each other and their surroundings. It considers how humans interact in the workplace and how, due to the inevitability of human error, mistakes are likely to occur.

On this course you will look at human factors in a healthcare environment, an area where it is vital to limit mistakes because human error can affect patient safety. You will learn about systems that pre-empt the inevitability of human error and can help improve clinical practice and patient safety as a whole.


  • Week 1

    The Basic Principles of Human Factors

    • Introduction to the course

      An introduction to the course and an opportunity to meet the team responsible for your learning

    • Introduction to human factors

      Exploring the concept that human error is inevitable and how by embracing this fact we can foster an effective learning environment to improve safety

    • Cognitive Topics

      Having an awareness of how cognitive topics can affect all of us within the workplace as well as day to day life, will allow us to have a clearer understanding of how error can occur

  • Week 2

    Application of Human Factors to Healthcare

    • Introduction to Week 2

      Introducing Week 2 of the course which is designed to take the fundamental topics we covered in Week 1 and apply them within the context of healthcare

    • Human factors in healthcare

      We learn that an understanding of human factors coupled with improving our safety culture within the healthcare industry could lead to significant improvements in patient safety

    • Communication

      The UK Health and Safety Executive suggests human failure is the cause for 80% of all accidents across all sectors including healthcare with communication, or more often a breakdown in communication, cited as a contributor

    • Applying human factors in healthcare

      Although human factors in healthcare is still in its infancy we can look at transferable examples from other industries for inspiration

  • Week 3

    Implementing Change - Creating a Safety Culture

    • Introduction to Week 3

      In the final week of the course we look at how we can create and improve a safety culture within healthcare using our understanding of human factors and error

    • Error reporting in healthcare

      Error reporting in healthcare

    • Implementing change

      Using our newly gained knowledge on human factors what changes could be implemented to our daily and working life practices to attempt to reduce human error

    • End of course activities

      End of course feedback

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Develop an awareness of human error and how this can affect clinical performance
  • Describe the different cognitive categories under the umbrella term of human factors
  • Discuss the importance of effective communication within healthcare
  • Develop an effective and open safety culture within everyday practice

Who is the course for?

This course is for healthcare professionals of all levels, but many of the topics discussed are transferable across other industries.

Who will you learn with?

Lecturer in Operating Department Practice at the school of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia.

Interests include clinical simulation, human factors and patient safety.

Professor of Public Health & Medical Education, Norwich Medical School; Lifelong Learner; Supervisor & Mentor; ‘early adopter’ but advocate of pedagogy before technology. Twitter: @vcrodrigues_uea

Who developed the course?

UEA (University of East Anglia)

The University of East Anglia is an internationally renowned university providing top quality academic, social and cultural facilities to over 15,000 students from over 100 countries around the globe.

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