JMIR Human Factors

(Re-)designing health care and making health care interventions and technologies usable, safe, and effective

Editor-in-Chief:

Andre Kushniruk BA, MSc, PhD, FACMI, School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria, Canada


JMIR Human Factors (JHF, ISSN 2292-9495; Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Andre Kushniruk) is a multidisciplinary journal with contributions from design experts, medical researchers, engineers, and social scientists.

JMIR Human Factors focuses on understanding how the behaviour and thinking of humans can influence and shape the design of health care interventions and technologies, and how the design can be evaluated and improved to make health care interventions and technologies usable, safe, and effective. This includes usability studies and heuristic evaluations, studies concerning ergonomics and error prevention, design studies for medical devices and healthcare systems/workflows, enhancing teamwork through Human Factors based teamwork training, measuring non-technical skills in staff like leadership, communication, situational awareness and teamwork, and healthcare policies and procedures to reduce errors and increase safety.

JHF aspires to lead health care towards a culture of "usability by design", as well as to a culture of testing, error-prevention and safety, by promoting and publishing reports rigorously evaluating the usability and human factors aspects in health care, as well as encouraging the development and debate on new methods in this emerging field. Possible contributions include usability studies and heuristic evaluations, studies concerning ergonomics and error prevention, design studies for medical devices and healthcare systems/workflows, enhancing teamwork through human factors-based teamwork training, measuring non-technical skills in staff like leadership, communication, situational awareness and teamwork, and healthcare policies and procedures to reduce errors and increase safety. Reviews, viewpoint papers and tutorials are as welcome as original research.

All articles are professionally copyedited and typeset, ready for indexing in PubMed/PubMed Central.

Recent Articles

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Focus Groups and Qualitative Research with Users

Bedside manner describes how clinicians relate to patients in person. Telemedicine allows clinicians to connect virtually with patients using digital tools. Effective virtual communication or webside manner may require modifications to traditional bedside manner.

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Usability Evaluation Case Studies

Teleguidance, a promising telemedicine service for intraoperative surgical consultation, was planned to scale up at a major academic hospital in partnership with 5 other hospitals. If the service was adopted and used over time, it was expected to provide educational benefits and improve clinical outcomes during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), which is a technically advanced procedure for biliary and pancreatic disease. However, it is known that seemingly successful innovations can play out differently in new settings, which might cause variability in clinical outcomes. In addition, few telemedicine services survive long enough to deliver system-level outcomes, the causes of which are not well understood.

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Design and Usability of Clinical Software and EHRs

Iatrogenic hypoglycemia is a common occurrence among hospitalized patients and is associated with poor clinical outcomes and increased mortality. Clinical decision support systems can be used to reduce the incidence of this potentially avoidable adverse event.

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Focus Groups and Qualitative Research with Users

Artificial intelligence (AI), such as machine learning (ML), shows great promise for improving clinical decision-making in cardiac diseases by outperforming statistical-based models. However, few AI-based tools have been implemented in cardiology clinics because of the sociotechnical challenges during transitioning from algorithm development to real-world implementation.

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Safety and Error Prevention in Health

In North America, although pharmacists are obligated to ensure prescribed medications are appropriate, information about a patient’s reason for use is not a required component of a legal prescription. The benefits of prescribers including the reason for use on prescriptions is evident in the current literature. However, it is not standard practice to share this information with pharmacists.

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User-centred Design Case Studies

Personal clinical data, such as laboratory test results, are increasingly being made available to patients via patient portals. However, laboratory test results are presented in a way that is difficult for patients to interpret and use. Furthermore, the indications of laboratory test results may vary among patients with different characteristics and from different medical contexts. To date, little is known about how to design patient-centered technology to facilitate the interpretation of laboratory test results.

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Tools and Questionnaires in Human Factors Evaluation

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most challenging diseases in the 21st century and is the sixth leading cause of death. Telemedicine has increasingly been implemented in the care of patients with DM. Although teleconsultations at home have shown to be more effective for inducing HbA1c reduction than other telemedicine options, before the 2019 coronavirus disease crisis, their use had been lagging behind. Studies on physicians’ or patients’ perceptions about telemedicine have been performed independently of each other, and very few have focused on teleconsultations. In a time of great pressure for health systems and when an important portion of health care has to be assured at a distance, obtaining insights about teleconsultations at home from the stakeholders directly involved in the health care interaction is particularly important.

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Safety and Error Prevention in Health

Low back pain (LBP) affects nearly 4 out of 5 individuals during their lifetime and is the leading cause of disability globally. Digital therapeutics are emerging as effective treatment options for individuals experiencing LBP. Despite the growth of evidence demonstrating the benefits of these therapeutics in reducing LBP and improving functional outcomes, little data has been systematically collected on their safety profiles.

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Design and Usability of Medical Devices

Medication nonadherence is a costly problem that is common in clinical use and clinical trials alike, with significant adverse consequences. Digital pill systems have proved to be effective and safe solutions to the challenges of nonadherence, with documented success in improving adherence and health outcomes.

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Design of Processes and Workflows

In the face of hospital capacity strain, hospitals have developed multifaceted plans to try to improve patient flow. Many of these initiatives have focused on the timing of discharges and on lowering lengths of stay, and they have met with variable success. We deployed a novel tool in the electronic health record to enhance discharge communication.

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Participatory Design and Participatory Research

Embodied conversational agents (ECAs) have the potential to stimulate actual use of eHealth apps. An ECA’s design influences the user’s perception during short interactions, but daily life evaluations of ECAs in health care are scarce.

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Safety and Error Prevention in Health

The forms of automation available to the oncology pharmacy range from compounding robotic solutions through to combination workflow software, which can scale-up to cover the entire workflow from prescribing to administration. A solution that offers entire workflow management for oncology is desirable because (in terms of cytotoxic delivery of a regimen to a patient) the chain that starts with prescription and the assay of the patient’s laboratory results and ends with administration has multiple potential safety gaps and choke points.

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Preprints Open for Peer-Review

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