PS 103 Lesson 2: Design Principles to Reduce Human Error
The way your brain processes and responds to information can negatively affect your performance, especially when you’re influenced by external stressors. When you are in a hurry, frequently interrupted, or focused on one solution, you tend to make mistakes.

Although multiple factors can negatively affect human performance, there are several ways to prevent or mitigate these effects. For example, simplifying processes, standardizing procedures, and using double checks can help minimize the likelihood of error. Streamlining a 30-step process down to a 10-step process, and using a checklist to complete that 10-step process, can help overcome the inevitability of human error and lead to more reliable outcomes. This lesson introduces several ways to prevent or mitigate the effects of factors that contribute to error, and provides examples of each of these strategies.
Estimated Time of Completion: 25 minutes
Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
1. Describe how changes to processes can mitigate the effects of factors that contribute to error.
2. List 11 error-reducing strategies, and rank them according to their relative effectiveness.
3. Define the basic concepts of simplification, standardization, constraints and forcing functions, and redundancies.
Contributors
Author(s):
Rollin J. (Terry) Fairbanks, MD, MS, FACEP, CPPS, Vice President Quality and Safety, MedStar Health View Profile
Frank Federico, RPh, Vice President, Senior Patient Safety Expert, Institute for Healthcare Improvement View Profile
Editor(s):
Laura Fink, Director, Editorial and Online Learning, Institute for Healthcare Improvement View Profile
Reviewer(s):
Lucian Leape, MD, Adjunct Professor of Health Policy, Harvard School of Public Health View Profile
Requirements
You must be a registered IHI.org user to take this lesson.
You must achieve a minimum score of 75% to successfully complete this lesson.