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Ergonomics. 2013;56(2):205-19. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2012.757655. Epub 2013 Feb 6.

Technologies in the wild (TiW): human factors implications for patient safety in the cardiovascular operating room.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA. prp.uiowa@gmail.com


We describe different sources of hazards from cardiovascular operating room (CVOR) technologies, how hazards propagate in the CVOR and their impact on cognitive processes. Previous studies have examined hazards from poor design of a specific CVOR technology. However, the impact of different CVOR technologies functioning in context is not clearly understood. In addition, the impact of non-design hazards in technology devices is unclear. Our study identified hazards from organisational, physical/environmental elements, in addition to design of technology in a CVOR. We used observations, follow-up interviews and photographs. With qualitative analyses, we categorised the different hazard sources and their potential impact on cognitive processes. Patient safety can be built into technologies by incorporating user needs in design, decision-making and implementation of medical technologies.


Effective design and implementation of technology in a safety-critical system requires prospective understanding of technology-related hazards. Our research fills this gap by studying different technologies in context of a CVOR using observations. Qualitative analyses identified different sources for technology-related hazards besides design, and their impact on cognitive processes.

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