I want to thank Mary Stahl for her informative article about using a systematic approach to selecting technology for the PCU (“An Upstream Approach to Selecting Progressive Care Technology,” August 2003:75–78).

Over the past few years, I have been a student of human factors and usability testing. Human factors is the study of how humans, machines, and other work tools interface with each other. Here are a few suggestions of human factors that might assist your readers with technology procurement in any setting.

  • How intuitive is the equipment? Can a nurse walk up to the machine and understand what to do, or are lengthy inservices and education required to “figure it out”? Well-designed equipment should make it easy to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing.

  • Are multiple steps necessary to “set up” the equipment?...

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