Consensus Report Brief
Workshop Summary Report
Workshop Summary Highlights
In the United States, health care and associated medical devices and information technologies are rapidly moving into the home. This transition, which is likely to accelerate in the future, has raised a host of issues. The safety, quality, and effectiveness of home health care can be informed by many issues encompassed by the field of human factors research and practice—which studies human capabilities and limitations and their interaction with the design of products, processes, systems, and work environments.
The multidisciplinary Committee on the Role of Human Factors in Home Healthcare was formed to examine a diverse range of behavioral and human factors issues resulting from the increasing migration of medical devices, technologies, and care practices into the home. Its goal was to lay the groundwork for a thorough integration of human factors knowledge and research with the design and implementation of home health care devices, systems, technologies, and practices.
Through its work, the committee determined that human factors can help improve health care in the home in four primary areas: health care technologies, caregivers in the home, residential environments for health care, and research and development. Improvement in these areas holds the promise of providing healthy living, comfort, and effective treatment to care recipients while lessening the burden on caregivers. Federal leadership and improved data collection and analysis will be necessary to spur these improvements. There are also many additional opportunities for researchers and developers to study and use human factors to support positive change and maximize the promise of successful health care at home.
Every day, in households across the country, people engage in behavior to improve their current health, recover from disease and injury, or cope with chronic, debilitating conditions. Innovative computer and information systems may help these people manage health concerns, monitor important indicators of their health, and communicate with their formal and informal caregivers. Human factors is an engineering science dedicated to understanding and improving the way people use technology and other things in the environment.
In addition to the consensus report and workshop summary report, the Committee prepared Consumer Health Information Technology in the Home to introduce designers and developers to the practical realities and complexities of managing health at home. It provides guidance and human factors design considerations that will help designers and developers create consumer health IT applications that are useful resources to achieve better health.