• News
  • News
  • Application of Non-Technical Skills (Human Factor) Principles
in the Operating Theatre

Application of Non-Technical Skills (Human Factor) Principles
in the Operating Theatre

2021-10-08 09:13:27

By Loh Huey Peng, Assistant Director, Nursing, Operating Theatre, Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)
My interest in Non-Technical Skills (NTS), or human factors, began when I visited The Rotterdam Eye Hospital in Netherlands for the inaugural World Association of Eye Hospital (WAEH) meeting back in 2007. I was intrigued and fascinated by studies which applied aviation NTS training principles into the operating theatre, for example surgeons experiencing the role of a pilot. NTS is a combination of cognitive, social, and personal resource skills that complement technical skills and they are a crucial component in many high risk industries such as aviation, nuclear plants, and in my professional field, the operating theatre.

I realised NTS could potentially bridge a gap in adverse patient safety occurrences, a concern still prevalent today, more than 15 years after the Institute of Medicine first published the report “To Err is Human” in 1999. The report highlighted that many of such adverse patient safety events were attributed to failures in NTS rather than a lack of technical expertise. However, progress to assess, train, and improve NTS for similar high risk areas such as the operating theatre remains restricted. Identifying important non-technical skills and their associated behaviours underpin the development of future training programs in enhancing patient safety efforts.

That’s where my research comes in. I was determined to explore this area for my PhD despite its many challenges. Firstly, convincing fellow clinicians that this was a research area of significant impact and value was essential. I was fortunate to have support from my organisation as well as guidance from both my site supervisors, Dr Yin ShanQin, a human factor specialist and Dr Dirk De Korne, who came to Singapore from The Rotterdam Eye Hospital. Both are equally passionate in research about human factors in healthcare.

Loh Huey Peng

Loh Huey Peng, Assistant Director, Nursing, Operating Theatre, Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)

Read the complete interview: interview

More news

Webinar: Impact of BIG data on Eyecare?

14 October 2021 – Thursday  Webinar: What is the Impact of BIG data on Eyecare?  Hosted by The WAEH  Time: 13.00 Central European TimeModerator: Maaike van Zuilen Presenters Aier Eye Hospital Group (China) – Professor Zheng Wang Chief Director of Aier Refractive Academic Committee Big Data Analysis Report on Myopia Surgery in China MarketOn May 23rd, Aier […]

Treatment for geographic atrophy (a major cause of vision loss in patients with ‘dry’ AMD) a step closer after artificial intelligence breakthrough by Moorfields/UCL

A team led by Dr Konstantinos Balaskas at Moorfields Eye Hospital Reading Centre has developed a fully automated, deep-learning model (algorithm) that can detect and quantify geographic atrophy using standard optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans. The algorithm will be hugely beneficial to clinicians providing care for patients with geographic atrophy (GA), who will need a […]

Friday 10th December 2021 Webinar | The wider impact on people’s lives following the Covid 19 pandemic

Hosted by The WAEH Moderator: Maaike van Zuilen, Global Lead, WAEH What is a Schwartz Round? Schwartz Rounds provide a structured forum where all staff, clinical and non-clinical, come together to discuss the emotional and social aspects of working in healthcare. The purpose of Rounds are to understand the challenges and rewards that are intrinsic […]

WAEH 15th Annual Meeting September 2021

8 September 2021 During the annual meetings members have the opportunity to collaborate and exchange information and knowledge about all kinds of topics. Good examples of this include improving the efficiency in the service given to patients and continuous development of patient pathways. Since the establishment of the WAEH in 2007 in Rotterdam, the WAEH […]

Launch of the new Eye Care Hub website

 The National Eye Care Recovery and Transformation Programme (NECRTP) brings together teams across NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHSX and NHS Digital to support delivery of whole pathway improvement and transformation of eye care for patients.  We aim to:  Support the immediate, rapid recovery of eye care services Prevent unnecessary, irreversible sight loss and improve access […]

Stay Up to Date With News, Inspirations and Events

A worldwide network of eye hospitals


Maaike van Zuilen,