Using Human Factors Engineering & Design Thinking to Improve Clinical Operations

Spring 2022 Webinar Series


Developed by ECRI and Jefferson Health
In collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University's College of Population Health, College of Health Professions, and the School of Design and Engineering

Health care delivery has become increasingly complex. Healthcare professionals frequently use tools, processes, and systems which have not been designed to facilitate efficient human performance…which can lead to costly and preventable patient safety errors, decreased effectiveness, and a loss of patient-centered care.

Managing day-to-day operations during the pandemic has exposed previously hidden problems related to human factors and exacerbated by common issues such as staffing shortages, introduction of new technologies, and complex treatment algorithms.

Human factors engineering (HFE) and design thinking are two methodologies that could make a significant difference in beginning to address these challenges.

Objectives for this three-part webinar series, developed for healthcare administrators and professionals include:

  • Review the concepts of human factors and design thinking
  • Apply human factors and design thinking to healthcare
  • Examine use cases of human factors and design thinking in healthcare

Session 3 – Applying Human Factors Engineering and Design Thinking at the Sharp Edge: A Human Factors Approach to Reducing CLABSI

May 24, 2022
12:30-1:30 p.m. ET

Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) are serious and life-threatening hospital acquired infections (HAI), with a significant mortality rate (12% to 25%). Each patient who acquires a CLABSI, experiences a longer hospital stay, resulting in an excess cost of care of about $40,000 to $117,000 per event.

Over the years, there have been many documented attempts to eliminate CLABSI through culture and process improvement. However, they have not proved to be durable or sustainable for a variety of complex reasons. Jefferson took a different approach to CLABSI, incorporating the science of Human Factors Engineering and Design principles. By creating a system that did not exceed human capability and capacity, the health system was able to lower the Standardized Infection Rate (SIR).

Available for viewing on-demand.


Oren Guttman, MD, MBA
Edward Asplundh Chief Quality Officer & Patient Safety Officer
Jefferson Abington Health
Enterprise Vice President for High Reliability & Patient Safety, Jefferson Health
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
Sidney Kimmel Medical College


Shane D. Flickinger, MHA, FACHE
Vice President of Operations
Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals
Lecturer, Operational Excellence Program
Jefferson College of Population Health

Session 2 – Looking Beyond the Pandemic: Human Factors Engineering and System Design In Telehealth

April 19, 2022
12:30-1:30 p.m. ET

Many health systems expanded their telehealth capabilities to increase access to care during the pandemic. The rapid upscaling of telehealth programs to meet an acute need left much to be desired in terms of effective systems design. Organizations often focus on technical specifications and integration of telehealth within existing EHR and payment models. In order to optimize and sustain telehealth over the long term, we must consider the user experience of all stakeholders.

Join us as we review the need for human factors and design in telehealth. We will review recommendations for health systems looking to incorporate human factors-centered systems into their programs and describe cases of systems-based design at Jefferson.

Available for viewing on-demand.


Shruti Chandra, MD, MEHP
Associate Professor and Director
Phase 3, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Program Director
Digital Health and Telehealth Education
Thomas Jefferson University


Andrew C. Furman, MD, MMM, FACEP
Executive Director
Clinical Excellence

Session 1 – Focusing on Human Interaction in Health System Design: The Basics of Human Factors Engineering and Design Thinking

March 15, 2022
12:30-1:30 p.m. ET

Human factors engineering (HFE) and design thinking are extremely important in domains (like health care) where employee health, safety, and wellbeing are critical to avoiding injuries, illness and death. Healthcare professionals frequently find themselves using tools, processes, and systems which have not been designed to facilitate safe, effective, or efficient human performance…sometimes leading to very costly patient safety errors. Applying clinically-informed HFE and design thinking has the potential to significantly benefit both healthcare providers and patients.

Join us as we review the basics of HFE and design thinking, both of which are grounded in developing a deep understanding of how humans interact with their environment. We will explain how to leverage HFE and design thinking to help address challenges faced by healthcare providers. We will also share a use case to demonstrate how effective and impactful these approaches can be.

Available for viewing on-demand.


Patrice Tremoulet, PhD
Human Factors Engineer, ECRI
Associate Professor, Rowan University


Michael J. Leonard, MA.Ed, MS.Ed, IDSA
Academic Dean
School of Design & Engineering
Thomas Jefferson University