Date of this Version
Human factors and process engineering are becoming a prominent area of research and application for industrial engineering principles as healthcare providers seek to improve patient safety, quality the optimization of resources. Human factors engineering and ergonomics play a crucial role in the pursuit of operational excellence and patient safety in healthcare. These disciplines contain the tools required to develop instrumentation, technology and training that can improve the usability of medical technology and the quality of care that patients receive. Designing tasks, tools and processes for optimal human use can enhance performance, reduce errors and improve safety. This thesis encompasses three journal articles. The first paper addresses how physical ergonomics can be used to evaluate and improve skill acquisition in endotracheal intubation. Significant differences in muscle utilization and wrist postures were observed between experience levels and genders of clinicians. Differences in muscle utilization and wrist postures were found to be significantly related to instrument grasp characteristics, identifying potential ergonomic best practices. The second paper investigates the mechanical design of laparoendoscopic single-site (LESS) surgical ports from a human factors perspective. This study characterized the differences in resistance and range of motion afforded by each LESS port during simulated single-incision use. The resistance of each port varied significantly with respect to instrument positions. The final paper explored each LESS surgical port against standard laparoscopy by using a validated laparoscopic training task to assess the usability and performance of each device. Instrument mobility was restricted by the LESS ports, but it did not affect task performance significantly. While each device exhibited positive and negative human factors attributes for clinicians and patients, it was concluded that procedural factors rather than device familiarity should influence LESS port selection.
Advisor: M. Susan Hallbeck