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Providing health care in emergency settings is complex, hazardous work that is vulnerable to failure. Human factors and ergonomics studies of hazardous work in other settings have produced useful insights, innovations, and contributions to improving safety in those fields, so there is great interest in applying similar methods to the study of clinical work. However, the clinical environment presents some unique challenges to researchers. We discuss some of those challenges, based on our experience in conducting a variety of studies in the emergency setting in the US and UK, and offer suggestions for future work in this area.

Original publication




Journal article


Appl Ergon

Publication Date





695 - 700


Accidents, Education Department, Hospital, Ergonomics, Health Services Research, Humans, Iatrogenic Disease, Models, Organizational, Organizational Culture, Patient Care, Program Evaluation, Safety Management, United Kingdom, United States