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Mistake proofing: changing designs to reduce error
  1. J R Grout
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor J R Grout
 Berry College, Campbell School of Business, Mount Berry, GA 30149-5024, USA; jgrout{at}


Mistake proofing uses changes in the physical design of processes to reduce human error. It can be used to change designs in ways that prevent errors from occurring, to detect errors after they occur but before harm occurs, to allow processes to fail safely, or to alter the work environment to reduce the chance of errors. Effective mistake proofing design changes should initially be effective in reducing harm, be inexpensive, and easily implemented. Over time these design changes should make life easier and speed up the process. Ideally, the design changes should increase patients’ and visitors’ understanding of the process. These designs should themselves be mistake proofed and follow the good design practices of other disciplines.

  • mistake proofing
  • design
  • human error
  • patient safety

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  • Competing interests: none declared.