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Response to separating fact from opinion: a response to ‘the science of human factors: separating fact from fiction’
  1. Alissa L Russ1,2,3,4,
  2. Laura G Militello5,
  3. Jason J Saleem1,2,3,6,
  4. Rollin J Fairbanks7,8,9,
  5. Robert L Wears10,11
  1. 1VA Health Services Research and Development Center on Implementing Evidence-Based Practice, Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indianapolis, IN, USA
  2. 2Regenstrief Institute, Inc., Indianapolis, IN, USA
  3. 3Indiana University Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research, Indianapolis, IN, USA
  4. 4Department of Pharmacy Practice, Purdue University College of Pharmacy West Lafayette, IN, USA
  5. 5Applied Decision Science, LLC, Dayton, OH, USA
  6. 6Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN, USA
  7. 7National Center for Human Factors Engineering in Healthcare, MedStar Institute for Innovation, Washington DC, USA
  8. 8Department of Emergency Medicine, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA
  9. 9Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
  10. 10Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Florida, Jacksonville, FL, USA
  11. 11Clinical Safety Research Unit, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alissa L Russ, VA Health Services Research and Development Center on Implementing Evidence-Based Practice, Roudebush VA Medical Center, 1481 W. 10th St, 11-H, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA; alissa.russ{at}

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Reply to Baysari's letter

We would like to thank Dr Baysari1 for extending the discussion of our article, ‘The science of human factors: separating fact from fiction’.2 We appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Dr Baysari raises an excellent point in that some authors using the term ‘human factors’ may not intend to align their work with human factors science. This is likely the case. Our concern, however, is not with the intent, but the resulting misunderstandings. Although broad use of the term appears innocuous initially, we have found that it creates real confusion. Use of the term ‘human factors’ to describe any and all factors related to human behaviour creates the impression that human factors methods and models have been applied when they have not. Certainly, studies of communication style or personality types may have a positive impact on the healthcare practice. Nonetheless, the use of human factors language in these studies is misleading.

A second important point for discussion is a …

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  • Contributors AR and LM drafted the paper. All authors provided critiques of the intellectual content to produce the final version.

  • Funding This work was supported in part by the VA HSR&D Center of Excellence on Implementing Evidence-Based Practice, Center grant #HFP 04-148, VA HSR&D PPO# 09-298, and AHRQ grant R18 HS017902. Dr Fairbanks is supported by a NIH Career Development Award from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (K08-EB009090). Dr Saleem is supported by a VA HSR&D Research Career Development Award (CDA 09-024-1).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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