Atrainability Blog

Here we share some thoughts, insights and ideas related to Human Factors Training

Working with Fertility Clinics across the UK

One of our clients from many years ago got in touch with us recently and told us that she has always kept a copy of one of our old brochures on her desk. The concept of Human Factors training as a solution to human fallibility and other weaknesses had made a lasting impact upon her when she was a Senior Clinician.

One of our clients from many years ago got in touch with us recently and told us that she has always kept a copy of one of our old brochures on her desk. The concept of Human Factors training as a solution to human fallibility and other weaknesses had made a lasting impact upon her when she was a Senior Clinician.

Now that she has a position of responsibility within an IVF clinic, she recognised the same aspects of Human behaviour and error were apparent within this arena. We were invited to visit one of their clinics, to observe and grasp the issues around the process and behaviour prevalent within such an environment.

We've often found that when visiting or running observations, it's the throw-away remarks that you hear which may offer a deeper insight into possible problem areas. For example, during our visit an embryologist remarked, "We take particular special care with our cross checking at this stage" when cross checking the identity of newly fertilised embryos – one wonders what they do the rest of the time!

The clinic has three basic functional areas :egg harvest and transfer, sperm collection and the laboratory which is used for checks, analyses and fertilisation.
The obvious high risk areas with regards to Fertility Clinics are in terms of misidentification and labelling, contamination and potentially failing to note high risk, such as a recent visit to zika virus areas. 

It is of course largely process driven, but hinges on adherence to those processes. The human brain is not particularly well equipped to deal with repetitious and monotonous tasks and prefers variety and challenge. However interruptions, distractions and communication breakdowns can all lead to error.

A fundamental aspect is that the frontline staff feel confident in their own fallibility and accept that error is inevitable. Once this is accepted blame can be put to one side and a 'just culture' adopted which should lead to open discussion of incidents and potentially dangerous near-misses. These are the greatest source of learning and the frontline team know where they are. Understanding the root causes of mistakes is the starting point for staff and management.

The human factors awareness session that we subsequently ran garnered the following comments in the evaluations :

"ALL staff need to attend a similar course" - Alison Lytollis

"Very enjoyable, well presented course. Thoroughly recommend. Had Human Factors training twice previously but this was the most worthwhile" – Jo Roebuck

"Very insightful. Some 'lightbulb' moments as to how myself, team and individuals function and possible reasons to explore" – Avril Mackie

"Speak up if needed – even if you feel uncomfortable doing so." – Lisa Berry

"Challenged some pre-conceived ideas about leadership and effective working." – Louise Best

A good reputation is crucial within this sector. Keeping awareness of risk, understanding human behaviour and encouraging the report of near misses was not previously appreciated.

During the course with them it became apparent that having a better understanding of how and why each of us can make mistakes has awakened interest and enhanced comprehension of risk within the team.

We look forward to revisiting them in the near future.


Further Reading: 


Improvement Science for Better Outcomes

Comments

 
No comments yet
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Tuesday, 17 October 2017