Human Factors and Operating Room Design Challenges

  • Dirk F. de Korne
  • Huey Peng Loh
  • Shanqing Yin


Diffusing innovations from other industries have been suggested as a source to improve safety and quality of surgical patient care. Operating rooms are high-risk areas for preventable patient harm. Many studies focus on teaching, training, and changing staff behaviour as an approach to improvement. Most safety improvements in other high-risk industries, however, first focus on work area design before attempting to change behaviour. Design can purposefully shape behaviour towards more sustainable practices and improve teamwork dynamics and situational awareness. Human factor engineering, concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, can help in ‘mistake proofing’ by changing designs to make processes more reliable and effective. The field of design and human factor engineering can assist improving safety in the operating room. The application of these principles will be demonstrated in two case studies: Effects of operating floor marking on the position of surgical devices to promote clean air flow compliance and minimize infection risks, and use of video feedback and computer-assisted systems using video imaging technology to improve sensomotor and non-technical skills.


Diffusion of innovations Human factor engineering Design thinking Video analytics Feedback 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk F. de Korne
    • 1
  • Huey Peng Loh
    • 2
  • Shanqing Yin
    • 3
  1. 1.Medical Innovation & Care TransformationKK Women’s & Children’s HospitalSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Operating TheatreSingapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)SingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of Quality, Safety, & Risk ManagementKK Women’s & Children’s HospitalSingaporeSingapore

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