Frank and Lillian Gilbreth - Industrial Engineers (the inspiration for the movie Cheaper by the Dozen)   
"Motion Study in Surgery", Surgery Journal, 1918.
See electronic collection of Gilbreth material at Purdue University


Birth of the discipline "human factors engineering" occurs in the aviation world
See nice summary at
University of Illinois Site


Human factors applications in medicine  
Groundbreaking article by M Rappaport in Human Factors Journal         


Human Factors in Healthcare Book
First book with several examples of research on HFE and various aspects of medicine -
from a 1974 symposium


Human Factors in Anesthesiology Groundbreaking Article
Jeff Cooper writes seminal article about using HFE methods in anesthesia settings


Human Factors in the ICU Groundbreaking Article
D Gopher writes about using HFE and observation studies to look at close calls in the ICU


Red Forest Consulting members are actively involved in applying HFE to healthcare:  
Human computer interaction and Healthcare
John Gosbee and others begin applying usability testing and other HFE methods
Human factors applied to Medical Device Design
Laura Lin (Gosbee) and others begin applying HFE to medical device design


Institute of Medicine report "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System"
published in 1999 invigorates interest in patient safety.

More hospitals and device manufacturers begin to apply HFE.  
(see MDDI's 2007 article on
"Catching the Human Factors Fever")

Red Forest Consulting is formed in 2002 to meet demand from industry, academia, non-profits
and government agencies for human factors expertise.     


Awareness of HFE has grown exponentially.  HFE gains a foothold in the medical device industry
and health care delivery organizations as they hire or develop in-house HFE expertise.  

However, the efforts need to be nurtured and expanded further to widen the gains as patient
safety improvements begin to emerge.  

Red Forest Consulting continues their commitment to these efforts through their lectures, workshops,  
consulting services, and publications (see John's publications and Laura's publications).                
History of HFE in Healthcare

  • 1910   

  • 1950s     

  • 1970     

  • 1974-75  

  • 1978

  • 1980

  • 1990s

  • 2000s

  • 2010

Red Forest Consulting