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Mental models: a basic concept for human factors design in infection prevention


Sax, H; Clack, L (2015). Mental models: a basic concept for human factors design in infection prevention. Journal of Hospital Infection, 89(4):335-339.

Abstract

Much of the effort devoted to promoting better hand hygiene is based on the belief that poor hand hygiene reflects poor motivation. We argue, however, that automatic unconscious behaviour driven by 'mental models' is an important contributor to what actually happens. Mental models are concepts of reality--imaginary, often blurred, and sometimes unstable. Human beings use them to reduce mental load and free up capacity in the conscious mind to focus on deliberate activities. They are pragmatic solutions to the complexity of life. Knowledge of such mental processes helps healthcare designers and clinicians overcome barriers to behavioural change. This article reviews the concept of mental models and considers how it can be used to improve hand hygiene and patient safety.

Abstract

Much of the effort devoted to promoting better hand hygiene is based on the belief that poor hand hygiene reflects poor motivation. We argue, however, that automatic unconscious behaviour driven by 'mental models' is an important contributor to what actually happens. Mental models are concepts of reality--imaginary, often blurred, and sometimes unstable. Human beings use them to reduce mental load and free up capacity in the conscious mind to focus on deliberate activities. They are pragmatic solutions to the complexity of life. Knowledge of such mental processes helps healthcare designers and clinicians overcome barriers to behavioural change. This article reviews the concept of mental models and considers how it can be used to improve hand hygiene and patient safety.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Infectious Diseases
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:26 Feb 2015 07:51
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:59
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0195-6701
Additional Information:Proceedings from the 9th Healthcare Infection Society International Conference
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2014.12.008
PubMed ID:25676111

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