The fundamental pillars of human error

We have so far seen the long history of medical errors, and also seen how it operates to wreak havoc in high-stakes industries, both health and non-health. It is now time to delve into the drivers of human error, and in this exploration, we will examine the following four major pillars of human error:

    • Cognitive factors
    • Behavioural factors
    • Clinical factors
    • Systemic factors

We will see how practically all the mistakes that subvert and undermine patient safety arise from one of these four categories of human error. After exploring these, we will then look at the two fundamental pillars of patient safety management –

    • Patient safety incident management
    • Human factors management

To kick off, we will start by looking at the unconscious and conscious cognitive drivers of human error, and will discuss the following themes:

    • The theories and categories of thinking
    • The supremacy of the unconscious
    • The perils and virtues of cognitive biases
    • Schemas, stereotypes, and the Einstellung effect
    • The problem of noise
    • The pitfalls of memory
    • The power of conscious thinking
    • How we can think better

So, as they say, watch this space!

Ancient Pillars. Trevorklatko on Flickr.

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