Sunday, September 15, 2013

Douglas Engelbart passed away on July 3rd 2013.

Douglas Engelbart, who invented the first computer mouse and helped develop the PC user interface, passed away this July. Dr. Engelbart died at 88 at his home in Atherton, California. The New York Times obituary cited the cause of death as stated by his wife Karen was kidney failure.
Douglas Carl Engelbart was born in Portland, Oregon on Jan. 30th, 1925. He spending his childhood years on a farm in Portland, graduated from high school in 1942 and then proceeded to attend Oregon State College. According to the New York Times, “towards the end of World War II, he was drafted. He spent two years in the Navy, one of them in the Philippines, as a radar technician.
One day he was in a reading library on a small island when an article titled “As We May Think” caught his eye. The article, by Vannevar Bush, a physicist and inventor who oversaw the United States Office of Scientific Research and Development during the war, described a universal information retrieval system called Memex. The idea stuck with Dr. Engelbart, and he made it his life’s work. “
Without question Engelbart was one of the most influential people in the development and power of the personal computer.


For More about Douglas Engelbart …
“Computer Visionary Who Invented the Mouse,”, July 3rd 2013.

"From the archives: Douglas Engelbart's lasting legacy, 1999," the Mercury News, July 3, 013.

Remembering Douglas Engelbart,” Communications of the ACM, Vol. 56 No. 9, Pages 24-25

 HCI International NEWS – September  2013 - Number 61

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Human Performance: Resident Physician’s Shorter Shift Increases Patient Risk

A recent study done by Johns Hopkins researchers concludes that “limiting the number of continuous hours worked by medical trainees failed to increase the amount of sleep each intern got per week, but dramatically increased the number of potentially dangerous handoffs of patients from one trainee to another”.

The researchers also found that, “the minimal number of patient handoffs between interns increased from three for those working 30 hours to as high as nine for those working 16-hour shifts. The more handoffs, the less continuity of care and the more room for medication and other treatment and communication errors, past research has shown. Meanwhile, the minimal number of different interns caring for a given patient during a three-day stay increased from three to as high as five. Whether or not, or in what way, that affects patient care or patient satisfaction is another unknown.”

Interestingly enough, this study also found that “although interns on the 16-hour limit schedule did sleep an average of three hours longer during the 48 hours encompassing their on-call period than those working 30-hour shifts, there was no difference in the amount of sleep they got across a week.”

"During each call period, the interns had 14 extra hours out of the hospital, but they only used three of those hours for sleeping."

Primary researcher Dr. Desai stated "we don't know if that's enough of a physiologically meaningful increase in sleep to improve patient safety".

Basic human factors knowledge suggests that human performance improves when the human body is in good physical condition—in this case sufficient sleep or a shorter shift—and allows for better decision-making and an improvement in safety and health.

However the study continues to suggest that the increases in the number of patient handoffs contribute to “the less continuity of care and the more room for medication and other treatment and communication errors”. If this is the case, shouldn’t the solution instead be one that consists of a better shift configuration, rather than reverting back to long shifts?


Reducing work hours for medical interns increases patient 'handoff' risks.
Doctor Fatigue Raises Car Accident Risk: Study, 12/26/2012.
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