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New e-learning resource available – Human Factors | Ngā Āhua Tangata in health care

Resilient health care Adverse events Restorative practice
13 December 2022

The Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission) today released a new e-learning module on Human Factors | Ngā Āhua Tangata in health care.

Human Factors is the scientific discipline concerned with understanding the interactions between people and other parts of the systems they work within.

It applies theory, principles, data and methods to design improvements that optimise both human wellbeing and system performance.

The Commission’s clinical lead system safety, Dr Carl Horsley (an intensive care specialist at Middlemore Hospital), says it’s exciting to launch this e-learning module, as Human Factors offers new opportunities to improve the way we work in health care.

‘Human Factors offers us a way to understand the realities that staff and patients face in health care, to design solutions that not only make the system work better but also improve the wellbeing of all those involved.

‘For example, when COVID-19 first hit Aotearoa New Zealand, we had to design processes and tools that supported staff who might be tired, unfamiliar with the clinical environment and worried about their own health. By applying Human Factors principles, we kept our staff safe with no staff acquiring COVID-19 from patients over the last two-and-a-half years.’

The e-learning module includes seven videos featuring different professionals talking about the benefits of Human Factors ways of working. It builds clinicians’ understanding of Human Factors and the synergies with a te ao Māori view of health care.

‘Te ao Māori understands all elements in the world, both human and inanimate, as relational. Only by understanding these relationships can we design better ways of working,’ Carl says.

The module has been produced by the Commission, funded by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and supported by WorkSafe with input from Certified Professional Members from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand.

English and te reo Māori captions (subtitles) are available when accessing the videos through YouTube. Accessible transcripts are also available.