Work System Tasks: Blending Art and Science

Bethany Lowndes, Bernadette McCrory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Surgical team members must complete tasks, in coordination or in parallel, which contribute to the overall surgical processes. These tasks are actions that occur before, during, and after a surgical procedure. Task analysis allows human factors experts to further divide individual tasks and address the who, what, where, when, how, and why of these steps. Task analysis enables the measurement of workload, enhancement of performance, and identification of potential error modes due to inadequate work design that lead to inefficiencies and workarounds. With the increased complexity of surgical cases and efforts to maximize efficient use of resources, workload optimization through methods engineering (work design, task integration, etc.) within the surgical system can improve patient care, safety, and satisfaction while protecting the health and safety of the surgical team.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman Factors in Surgery
Subtitle of host publicationEnhancing Safety and Flow in Patient Care
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9783030531270
ISBN (Print)9783030531263
StatePublished - Sep 28 2020


  • Cognitive workload
  • Physical workload
  • Surgical complexity
  • Surgical duration
  • Surgical technique
  • Work design
  • Workarounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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