Fox Creek Healthcare Centre uses human factors to enhance efficiency and safety

Last year, the Fox Creek Healthcare Centre planned to design a COVID-19 resuscitation room in response to the pandemic.

Shelley O’Neill, External Nurse Investigator, saw this as an opportunity to apply her learnings from the Human Factors in Healthcare course offered by the HQCA and W21C.

“I used the skills and knowledge I gained during the Human Factors in Healthcare course to enhance efficiency and safety when resuscitating patients,” says Shelley.

Human factors is a scientific discipline that evaluates and understands human interactions in relation to other elements of a system. It’s a profession that applies theory, principles, data, and methods of design in order to reduce human error, increase productivity, and enhance safety and comfort.

The resuscitation room was designed and put to the test with several clinical simulations involving more than 15 staff members. This occurred in partnership with simulation consultants (Monika Johnson and Kristin Simard) from the Alberta Health Services North Zone eSim team. Movement patterns of individuals enacting the simulation scenarios were mapped out using a Link Analysis, a human factors method.

“Thanks to the Link Analysis we were able to identify potential issues and fine tune the design of the resuscitation room to minimize cross contamination so that patients and staff can remain safe,” said Shelley.

The team identified that the initial design required clinicians to move and cross paths frequently within the room to gather needed supplies. Modifying where supplies were stored, and defining the roles of the individuals involved in a resuscitation, helped create role specific zones within the room to minimize movement and potential cross contamination.

“Enacting the resuscitation scenarios also provided opportunities to practice and helped staff feel prepared and confident in their abilities,” added Shelley.

If you would like to be informed of the next Human Factors in Healthcare course offered by the HQCA and W21C please email

The HQCA’s resources on human factors can be found here.