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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Reviews on Human Factors

Despite advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) to develop prediction and classification models, little research has been devoted to real-world translations with a user-centered design approach. AI development studies in the health care context have often ignored two critical factors of ecological validity and human cognition, creating challenges at the interface with clinicians and the clinical environment.

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User-centred Design Case Studies

Patients on hemodialysis receive dialysis thrice weekly for about 4 hours per session. Intradialytic hypotension (IDH)—low blood pressure during hemodialysis—is a serious but common complication of hemodialysis. Although patients on dialysis already participate in their care, activating patients toward IDH prevention may reduce their risk of IDH. Interactive, technology-based interventions hold promise as a platform for patient activation. However, little is known about the usability challenges that patients undergoing hemodialysis may face when using tablet-based informatics interventions, especially while dialyzing.

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Theme Issue 2020/21: Human Factors of the COVID-19 Outbreak

As COVID-19 poses different levels of threat to people of different ages, health communication regarding prevention measures such as social distancing and isolation may be strengthened by understanding the unique experiences of various age groups.

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Design and Usability of Clinical Software and EHRs

Even in the era of digital technology, several hospitals still rely on paper-based forms for data entry for patient admission, triage, drug prescriptions, and procedures. Paper-based forms can be quick and convenient to complete but often at the expense of data quality, completeness, sustainability, and automated data analytics. Digital forms can improve data quality by assisting the user when deciding on the appropriate response to certain data inputs (eg, classifying symptoms). Greater data quality via digital form completion not only helps with auditing, service improvement, and patient record keeping but also helps with novel data science and machine learning research. Although digital forms are becoming more prevalent in health care, there is a lack of empirical best practices and guidelines for their design. The study-based hospital had a definite plan to abolish the paper form; hence, it was not necessary to compare the digital forms with the paper form.

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Reviews on Human Factors

Continuous monitoring of the vital signs of critical care patients is an essential component of critical care medicine. For this task, clinicians use a patient monitor (PM), which conveys patient vital sign data through a screen and an auditory alarm system. Some limitations with PMs have been identified in the literature, such as the need for visual contact with the PM screen, which could result in reduced focus on the patient in specific scenarios, and the amount of noise generated by the PM alarm system. With the advancement of material science and electronic technology, wearable devices have emerged as a potential solution for these problems. This review presents the findings of several studies that focused on the usability and human factors of wearable devices designed for use in critical care patient monitoring.

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User Needs and Competencies

Malnutrition is prevalent in older patients, which is associated with severe consequences such as a decline in functional status, increased risk of readmission, and increased mortality. A tablet-based eHealth solution (Food‘n’Go) was recently developed and introduced at our clinic to support older patients’ involvement in nutritional interventions during their hospitalization, thereby enhancing their awareness and motivation for choosing the right food to obtain sufficient calorie and protein intake. To reap the full benefits from the eHealth solution, the technology should be introduced and accompanied by support that targets the end users’ competence level and needs.

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User Training and Skills

Electronic health record (EHR) use can impede or augment patient-physician communication. However, little research explores the use of an educational comic to improve patient-physician-EHR interactions.

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Design and Usability of Clinical Software and EHRs

Typical solutions for improving discharge planning often rely on one-way communication mechanisms, static data entry into the electronic health record (EHR), or in-person meetings. Lack of timely and effective communication can adversely affect patients and their care teams.

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Theme Issue 2020/21: Human Factors of the COVID-19 Outbreak

Los Angeles County is a hub for COVID-19 cases in the United States. Academic health centers rapidly deployed and leveraged telemedicine to permit uninterrupted care of patients. Telemedicine enjoys high patient satisfaction, yet little is known about the level of satisfaction during a crisis and to what extent patient- or visit-related factors and trust play when in-person visits are eliminated.

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General Articles on Human Factors

Rising criticism about the risks associated with the use of mobile health apps necessitates a critical perspective to assess the use of these apps. A cost-benefit approach involving several moderating factors can be used to detect technology effects and individual-level push and pull factors related to health attitudes, lifestyle, and health management behaviors.

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Design of Processes and Workflows

Clinical pathways (CPs) can improve patient outcomes but can be complex to implement. Technologies, such as clinical decision support (CDS) tools, can facilitate their use, but require end-user testing in clinical settings.

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