PS 103 Lesson 1: Understanding the Science of Human Factors
No matter who you are, how smart you are, or how hard you try, you can always make an error. How many of us have walked out the front door only to realize we left our keys on the counter?

Human beings by their very nature are hard-wired in such a way that errors are inevitable, and given certain circumstances — such as being tired, bored, distracted, stressed, or frequently interrupted — the chances of making them go up exponentially. The purpose of this lesson is to build awareness of the ways in which multiple factors in the workplace, involving both people and their surroundings, can contribute to error.
Estimated Time of Completion: 20 minutes
Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
1. Define the science of human factors.
2. Discuss patterns in human thought that make people prone to error.
3. Give examples of factors that contribute to error in your everyday life and in health care.
Contributors
Author(s):
Frank Federico, RPh, Vice President/Senior Patient Safety Expert, Institute for Healthcare Improvement View Profile
Editor(s):
Kathleen Vega, BA, Freelance Writer, Kathleen B. Vega, Inc 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.