Human performance determines how well machines work. This goes for any industry in which people work closely with machines and particularly advanced technology. In health IT, a good working relationship between human and technology can translate into improved quality of care, increased efficiency and, ultimately, fewer errors.
But optimizing the relationship between people and their machines is seldom easy or simple. Relatively small processes, if not compatible with the way people work, can lead to big problems. For example, entering data on a medication order form in the opposite order as would be written on a paper prescription can lead to errors if the physician defaults to old habits.
Human activities and the way these are done directly relate to workflow and ultimately translate into efficiency, efficacy, and patient care management. IT developers must understand how caregivers work and synchronize the design of their technologies to complement these processes.
So much boils down to understanding and resolving workflow problems. Because small problems can become big ones -- often in ways not anticipated – the vendor must communicate regularly and well with the customer’s various stakeholders.