Human Factors in Hospital Facility Design

By Prithima Mosaly: Human factors is defined as the study of human beings and their interaction with products, environments, and equipment in performing tasks and activities. Human factors in healthcare facility design, is one of the aspects of improving human interaction with the system. It has a two-fold advantage, influence patients’ satisfaction and safety; health-care providers’ safety and quality of work. This includes three components, (1) Space and physical constraints, (2) Arrangement of components, (3) Environmental factors/design (noise, lighting, temperature etc.)

Physical space in which patient care will be provided must be sufficiently large to accommodate the functions, people, and devices. Refer to Kodak’s Ergonomic Design for People at Work, 2nd Edition (2003) for more information.

Arranging components in a work space (computer workstations and monitors in a nursing station and display in ICU etc.) requires data on: (a) basic data about human being, e.g., anthropometric and biomechanical data, data on sensory, cognitive and psychomotor skills; (b) Task analysis data for work activities of the people and their involvement; (c) environmental data like lighting, noise, temperature etc. Refer to Human Factors in Engineering and Design, 7th Edition, Sanders and McCormick (1993), and An introduction to Human Factors Engineering, 2nd Edition, Wickens CD., Lee JD., Liy Y., Gordon Becher SE. (2003) for more information.

Environmental factors, including lighting, noise, temperature, air and humidity affects human performance. Poor environmental designed facility have adverse effect on care provider’s health and thus compromise patient safety. For more information, refer to Human Factors in Engineering and Design, 7th Edition, Sanders and McCormick (1993).