Send to

Choose Destination
Rev Hum Factors Ergon. 2013 Sep 1;8(1):4-54.

Macroergonomics in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety.

Author information

University of Wisconsin-Madison. Johns Hopkins University. Northwestern University. Clemson University. Vanderbilt University.


The US Institute of Medicine and healthcare experts have called for new approaches to manage healthcare quality problems. In this chapter, we focus on macroergonomics, a branch of human factors and ergonomics that is based on the systems approach and considers the organizational and sociotechnical context of work activities and processes. Selected macroergonomic approaches to healthcare quality and patient safety are described such as the SEIPS model of work system and patient safety and the model of healthcare professional performance. Focused reviews on job stress and burnout, workload, interruptions, patient-centered care, health IT and medical devices, violations, and care coordination provide examples of macroergonomics contributions to healthcare quality and patient safety. Healthcare systems and processes clearly need to be systematically redesigned; examples of macroergonomic approaches, principles and methods for healthcare system redesign are described. Further research linking macroergonomics and care processes/patient outcomes is needed. Other needs for macroergonomics research are highlighted, including understanding the link between worker outcomes (e.g., safety and well-being) and patient outcomes (e.g., patient safety), and macroergonomics of patient-centered care and care coordination.


SEIPS model; care coordination; healthcare quality; interruptions; job stress; macroergonomics; mixed methods research; organizational context; patient safety; patient-centered care; sociotechnical system; system design; work system; workload

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center