Touching Human Lives Through Technology: The Role Of Human Factor

Human Factor and Technology

“1000 songs in your pocket” this is how Steve Jobs (the genius) introduced its ultra-thin 1.8 inch hard drive with 0.2 inch thickness and 5 gigabytes space. Imagine if he had said it is a music player with 5GB space. All of a sudden the iconic iPod speech fizzles out.

Apple struck gold when Steve Jobs cracked the code to success for a technology firm with a simple thought of 1000 songs in your pocket making a simple music player an aspirational product that everyone wanted to possess. Something similar is required to be done in the Healthcare Industry.

Healthcare industry is using technology to touch human lives. From conducting ultrasound to checking the heartbeats, storing information to retrieving it for analysis is all done with the help of technology. The technology in the healthcare sector needs to fulfill the concept of Ergonomics and Hedonomics. Ergonomics talks about safety, functionality/ effectiveness and usability whereas Hedonomics talks about pleasurable experience and individuation.

Healthcare technology has become an integral part of various environments like:  Clinical environment (Hospital, clinic), Home environment (House, mobile home, townhouse), Community setting (Office, school, retail, outdoors), Mobile environment (Car, plane, train, bus, ambulance), and so on. To be able to cater to each of these environments, it’s important to design a piece of technology with the right understanding of the psychology of human behavior involved in using the same.

A recent research on Human Factor engineering shows that what is important is not the number of tasks but the nature of the tasks being attempted. A doctor may be able to tell a student the steps in a simple operation while he is doing one but if it was a complicated case he may not be able to do that because he has to concentrate. An understanding of human factors and adherence to human factors principles is now fundamental to development of any technological piece.

The growing complexity of technological services and equipment makes the human factor more and more important. Human factors are the application of knowledge about human capabilities (physical, sensory, emotional and intellectual) and limitations to the design and development of tools, devices, system, environments and organizations. They examine the relationship between human beings and the systems with which they interact by focusing on improving efficiency, creativity, productivity and job satisfaction, with the goal of minimizing errors. A failure to apply human factors principles is a key aspect failure of adoption of new technology in Healthcare.

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