A Recap of the HFES International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care.
Recently, THRIVE was a Gold Sponsor and Exhibitor at the 12th HFES International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care as a part of our ongoing dedication to innovating at the frontiers of health and well-being.
The HFES International Symposium brings the best HF/E and healthcare professionals together yearly to improve healthcare systems worldwide. Our HF/E team was able to be a part of offering insights around the latest science and best practices, sharpening the focus of HF/E initiatives, improving regulatory approaches, and developing a deeper understanding of innovations in the safety of healthcare providers and patients.
Our Director of Human Factors Engineering, Leah Swanson, headed the THRIVE team. Leah ensures that Human Factors practices are employed throughout THRIVE’s clients’ medical device design process.
“As I traveled back to Chicago from Orlando (the location of this year’s HFES), I couldn’t help but reflect on the past four days of the HFES Healthcare Symposium. The event was filled with catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, exploring challenging Human Factors design concepts with HCP users during coffee breaks, commiserating over industry hurdles with peers, and meeting in-person with partners and vendors whom I’d only ever spoken to over the phone, connecting with current clients, and sharing our capabilities and services with prospective clients and partners,” says Leah.
“The time passed too quickly, though most of us are exhausted from a full daily schedule. The HFES International Symposium has always been a fantastic place for like-minded individuals to come together and share our work, network, discuss changes to the approach guidance, and align on the practice of Human Factors for medical devices, combination products, and drugs. The workshops, talks, panels, and posters touched on some very prudent topics as the world of healthcare, and thus the practice of human factors in response continues to change,” Leah says. “I found the panel called “Is the Grass Really Greener?” (a discussion about a career in consulting versus a career internal to medical device manufacturers) to be a fascinating discussion — what was discussed about working for large medical device manufacturers resonated well with me, and I look forward to my experiences on the other side of the fence as a consultant at THRIVE. Again, thank you for a wonderful Symposium filled with fantastic conversations and demonstrations. Looking very forward to next year when we can all meet again.”
Top 3 Takeaways from HFES International Symposium
From the perspective of Leah, her main takeaways from the conference were as follows:
1) Human Factors is permeating the entire healthcare system
Human Factors (HF) has become increasingly popular in the healthcare, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries in recent years. One indication of this is the variety of professionals who attend HF conferences and events, including engineers, designers, healthcare providers, and physicians from different hospital networks — as we saw at HFES International Symposium this year.
The importance of user-centered design in healthcare is becoming increasingly recognized, leading to growing interest in Human Factors. Healthcare providers aim to improve patient outcomes and safety and enhance the overall patient experience while reducing medical errors. HF offers a systematic approach to developing and assessing healthcare systems, devices, and processes, making them more usable, safe, and effective.
2) Human Factors continues to evolve with the ever-changing landscape of healthcare regulation
The healthcare industry is required to adhere to new regulations to improve patient safety and outcomes. Human Factors is crucial in meeting these regulations by ensuring that medical devices, systems, and processes meet specific standards.
The practice of Human Factors (HF) is changing to stay up-to-date with new regulations. HF is vital in ensuring healthcare products and systems are designed for patient safety and usability. The FDA has released guidelines for medical device manufacturers to follow to ensure their products are safe and effective for patients. The field of HF is changing to keep up with evolving regulations — and evolving Telehealth and digital health technologies. This is important because HF helps to ensure that healthcare products and systems are created with patient safety and usability as priorities.
3) The need for Human Factors to be embedded in the design and development process continues to grow
The complexity of healthcare systems is one of the main reasons for the growing demand for adopting and implementing Human Factors in healthcare. Healthcare systems comprise a complex chain of stakeholders: patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, decision-makers and payers, medical device manufacturers, and regulatory agencies. Designing and developing healthcare systems requires a thorough understanding of the user needs and requirements of all these stakeholders.
Additionally, due to the rapid digitalization and technology-driven nature of healthcare, it is becoming more and more necessary to incorporate HF into the design and development of digital health technologies, Telehealth systems, and remote monitoring systems. As mentioned in the second main takeaway, these developments are shaping the healthcare industry and creating an evolving landscape that demands careful consideration of HF.
As an award-winning, ISO 9001-certified Product Development and Innovation Strategy firm, THRIVE is invested in advancing Human Factors in our business and the broader world. Contact us if you want to implement HF throughout the product design and development process.
THRIVE’s Human Factors professionals have decades of experience applying Human Factors to products ranging from medical devices used by specialized healthcare professionals in clinical environments to combination products used by laypeople in the home.
If it’s your first time applying Human Factors and you need a comprehensive end-to-end Human Factors program, we’ll scope out the program and conduct the activities on your behalf, leaving you time and resources to focus elsewhere. If you’re a resource constrained HFE professional, we’ll step in, providing the teamwork, collaboration, and support to help you meet your goals. Or, if you just want a final sanity check to ensure you’ve met the latest and greatest expectations, we’ll do that too.
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