Models and methods of work system design need to be developed and implemented to advance research in and design for patient safety. In this paper we describe how the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) model of work system and patient safety, which provides a framework for understanding the structures, processes and outcomes in health care and their relationships, can be used toward these ends. An application of the SEIPS model in one particular care setting (outpatient surgery) is presented and other practical and research applications of the model are described.
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