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Key DFMCH Personnel

Ben-Tzion Karsh, PhD (PI);
John Beasley, MD – Co-Principal Investigator
Vicki Bier, PhD – Consultant
Roger Brown, PhD – Biostatistician
Carayon Pascale, PhD – Co-Investigator
Sue Dovey, PhD – Consultant
Paul Smith, MD – Co-Investigator/Director of WREN
Jon Temte, MD, PhD – Co-Investigator


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


This study uses proactive risk assessment methods to identify hazards and model their risk in the primary care of elderly patients. Physicians and patients participate in observation and focus groups.


Primary care is the hub of healthcare delivery. This unique role leads to tremendous complexity that is greatly underappreciated. This complexity makes primary care likely to have a high prevalence of safety hazards. The elderly are a vulnerable group at greater risk of being injured as a result of safety hazards. This research team brings together diverse expertise in primary care and engineering and a proven track record studying primary care patient safety.


The 3 specific Aims are to (1) identify hazards in the primary care of elderly patients, (2) conduct a proactive risk assessment of the identified hazards, and (3) compile a report detailing the documented hazards, the proactive assessment results and suggested approaches for eliminating identified hazards.


Methods used to achieve aims 1 and 2 will be rigorous proactive work system analyses followed by three proactive risk analysis methods. Aim 3 will be guided by collaborations between safety experts and clinicians using evidence-based human factors engineering design guidelines.


The elderly are a vulnerable group at great risk of being injured as a result of safety standards.