Human Factors Evaluation of Simulated Ebola Patient Scenarios

Evaluating Alberta Health Services’ Ebola Preparedness

About the Project

The W21C Human Factors team partnered with Alberta Health Services as part of an initiative focused on determining health care worker risk during simulated Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Patient Scenarios. Prompted by the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak, this project sought to evaluate donning and doffing procedures of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers during patient care. Through partnerships with provincial simulation programs, including eSIM and the EMS Patient Care Simulation program, the Human Factors team evaluated behavior during in-situ simulated EVD patient scenarios. These scenarios occurred within four different tertiary acute care centres in Alberta, and focused on simulating a potential Ebola Virus Disease patient’s path through the health care system, including treatment, triage, and transport from the home, to the ambulance, to the emergency department, and finally to the intensive care unit. Detailed behavioural analysis of audio-video recordings of the simulations identified events and contributing factors associated with possible EVD transmission.


  • 123 recommendations were provided, focused on modifying policies and procedures, as well as equipment and environmental design
  • 80% of the 123 recommendations made to AHS regarding PPE donning and doffing procedures were adopted
  • There is potential application to these procedures and recommendations for any infectious disease in a highly-resourced care setting

Services Provided

  • Environmental and Systems Evaluation
  • Literature Review
  • Stakeholder Engagement

Additional Content

Full Report
Human Factors Evaluation of Simulated Ebola Virus Disease Patient Scenarios: System Factors Associated with Donning and Doffing During Triage, Treatment and Transport

Published Article
Baers JH, Wiley KJ, Davies JM, Caird JK, Hallihan G, Conly J. “A Health System’s Preparedness for the “Next Ebola.” Ergonomics in Design: The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications. 2017 Dec 1.

Hallihan G, Davies J, Baers J, et al. Potential Health Care Worker Contamination from Ebola Virus Disease during Personal Protective Equipment Removal and DisposalProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. 2015;59(1):543-547. doi:10.1177/1541931215591118