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Health Care Leaders Gather to Gain New Safety, Risk Management Insights From Aviation Industry Experts
Date:6/2/2008

ation and, with it, more potential for adverse reactions; major technological advances; and the rise of the third-party payer, beginning with the creation of Medicaid in 1965.

The RM&PSI conference featured a number of leading voices who shared their insights into important patient safety issues and techniques, including veteran NASA astronaut and national patient safety expert Dr. James Bagian, and Steven J. Hopson, the first deaf pilot to become instrument-rated.

One of the most important parallels for health care from aviation is the use of simulation and ongoing training. Experts note that simulation is one of the best tools available to improve safety and the delivery of care, but it still rarely employed by today's health care institutions.

Another proven technique is the concept of "high-reliability understanding" - knowing the "why" of human mistakes.

The similarities across both industries are clear: pilots and residents/physicians are both required to work long hours, performing complex tasks with limited sleep and breaks. Another factor is communication within the hierarchal structure that is modern medicine. In health care, "hand-offs" in communication can lead to errors. Aviation faced similar issues in its early years, but worked to flatten organizations and implement closed-loop communication principals, to the point where even a subordinate can direct a leader on what to do.

The aviation industry created its systems with safety at the forefront, implementing fail-safes and stop-gaps that don't depend on human memory. Most importantly, they've stopped the "blame game," and instead examine how the systems in place are enabling mistakes.

Wareck believes health care can do the same. "Change on this level is never easy, but we are seeing more health care leaders engage in this discussion and embrace new safety processes as priorities," said Wareck. "We know it can be done and must now work to become the model for
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SOURCE FinCor Holdings Inc.
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