The Use of Socio-Technical Probabilistic Risk Assessment at AHRQ and NASA

  • James B. Battles
  • Barbara G. Kanki


Government research agencies can play an important role in helping to shape a research agenda through the research methods and techniques that they fund through grants and contracts. While the use of Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) has often been an accepted safety research tool in studying risk in technical systems, it has had limited use in predominately human systems in which human limitations and failure represent substantial risks. There is a need to apply PRA to more human based systems where the role of human behavior can represent a substantial portion of probable risk Two U.S. federal governmental research agencies are now using socio-technical probabilistic risk assessment as an important research tool to meet program objectives as part of their overall safety research efforts. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is the federal agency designated to lead the research effort in the area of medical error and patient safety while the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has responsibility in research in aviation and space safety management. Both AHRQ and NASA are advancing the use of probabilistic safety assessment through active research programs which are described.


Patient Safety Culture Probabilistic Risk Assessment Active Research Program Probabilistic Safety Assessment Simulator Augmented Reality 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • James B. Battles
    • 1
  • Barbara G. Kanki
    • 2
  1. 1.Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)RockvilleUSA
  2. 2.National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Ames Research CenterMoffett FieldUSA

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