Public Policy Matters: The Role of Human Factors in Home Health Care

Keywords human factors/ergonomics The Role of Human Factors in Home Health Care HFES Bulletin
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Much of the first months of the committee’s work involved preparations for a workshop to gather information and data about the human factors issues in home health care. Workshop topic ar-eas were determined: (a) recipients of care and formal and infor-mal caregivers; (b) health care tasks, medical devices, and infor-mation technology; and (c) environmental considerations – the immediate health care setting and the social, organizational, cul-tural, and policy and regulatory environments in which care takes place. Experts in these topics were invited to develop papers and to give presentations at the workshop in early October 2009. HFES members who gave presentations at the workshop were Neil Charness, Colin Drury, and Molly Follette Story. The formal report of this workshop will be released to the public in a few months, but the workshop presentations are available here.

The committee has now received funding for a second phase of work, which is intended to produce a consensus report about the role of HF/E in home health care. As with all reports pub-lished by the National Academies, the draft of this report will undergo extensive internal and external review and editing prior to its release to the public. The target date for consensus report publication is sometime in 2011.

We live in an age when people are taking more control of their health – not only because they must but because they de-sire to do so – and maintaining one’s health and well-being is a life-long activity, with various human factors challenges along the way. Access to information and technology is becoming an “anyone, any time, anywhere” proposition. This applies to health care as well as most other aspects of our lives. The Committee on the Role of Human Factors in Home Healthcare hopes to illuminate these challenges and to make human-factors-related recommendations that will lead to productive ac-tivities designed with the goal of improving the management of people’s health – by all people, throughout their lives, and in any setting.

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Volume 53
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Daryle Gardner-Bonneau
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