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This presentation was delivered at the Quality Forum 2016 by Allison Muniak and Emily Rose.

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  1. 1. ATTENTION Allison Muniak & Emily Rose Vancouver Coastal Health Quality Forum 2016
  2. 2. How can we focus in a distracting and demanding environment? How can we change our distracting and demanding environment to focus our attention? Explore how we respond to things that compete for our attention and how Human Factors principles can be applied to help us.
  3. 3. What is Human Factors?
  4. 4. designing for human use a body of information about human abilities, human limitations, and other human characteristics that are relevant to design Chapanis, A. (1995, p. 11). Human Factors in Systems Engineering. Toronto: John Wiley.
  5. 5. Attention
  6. 6. Attention How we actively process specific information in our environment. Wickens, C; Lee, J; Liu, Y.D; & Gordon- Becker, S. Introduction to Human Factors Engineering (2nd Edition) 2003
  7. 7. Photo from
  8. 8. Let’s play a game…
  9. 9. Next game…
  10. 10. Next game…
  11. 11. Left-hand Right-hand At the same time
  12. 12. Who was able to win both games at the same time?
  13. 13. Who was able to win both games at the same time? Who was able to win at least one of the games?
  14. 14. Who was able to win both games at the same time? Who was able to win at least one of the games? Who thought this was difficult or hard to do?
  15. 15. Did anyone use a strategy that was successful?
  16. 16. 1. Attention is Limited 2. Attention is Selective 3. Attention is a Basic Part of the Cognitive System
  17. 17. Let’s test our attention…
  18. 18. Multi-tasking
  19. 19.
  20. 20. Why are some tasks easier to perform at the same time than others? 1. Walking and chewing gum 2. Teleconference and writing an email 3. Mediating an argument with backseat passengers in the car while driving 4. Doing your taxes while talking on phone
  21. 21. Time-sharing Is the ability to perform more than one cognitive task by attending to both at once or by rapidly switching attention back and forth between them (Wickens, C; Lee, J; Liu, Y.D; & Gordon-Becker, S. Introduction to Human Factors Engineering (2nd Edition) 2003
  22. 22. In groups of 2 or 3… What is demanding our attention and requiring time sharing in our own work environment?
  23. 23. When does attention go from being useful to a distraction?
  24. 24. Distraction “Thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.” Google “An interruption to attention or anything that draws attention away from the primary task.” Psychology Dictionary “Something that makes it difficult to focus or pay attention.” Miriam-Webster
  25. 25.
  26. 26. Information Overload
  27. 27. Alarms
  28. 28. Alarm Fatigue
  29. 29. Which is the more important alarm? Which would you rather respond to?
  30. 30. • “Mommy, I need to go… “
  31. 31. • “Mommy, I went… “
  32. 32. Only create an alarm when you require a response from the operator • Does the event require operator action? • If it doesn’t require you to act on it right now, it isn’t an alarm. Working normally, nice to know, are not alarms. • Is the alarm the best indicator of the situation’s root cause? • Is the alarm truly resulting from an abnormal situation? • Does not activate during normal cases of operation Alarm Management Handbook (2010), Bill Hollifield
  33. 33. Case study: Nurse call bells and bed alarms
  34. 34. Case study: Nurse call bells and bed alarms The same call bell/alarm is used by patients to summon a nurse for non-emergent requests/assistance as that used for more serious or emergent situations (patient has fallen and can’t get up). There is a discrepancy in the seriousness of the incident and expectation for immediacy of reaction but the signal remains the same…
  35. 35. • Q
  36. 36. Turn to the person next to you and tell them one thing that you are going to do tomorrow to increase your attention to reduce distractions in your day-to-day activities.