Future Healthcare

When safety is critical

Our trio of writers – two doctors and an airline pilot – are co-founders of a business on a mission to improve patient outcomes by helping healthcare professionals understand why errors occur. 

John Reynard, Tim Kane and Peter Stevenson’s second article in a major series set to challenge attitudes and inspire you looks at the Highly Reliable Organisation approach to error reduction and the developent of a safety culture.

Pilot in Kapitän Uniform mit 4 goldenen Streifen und Mütze verschränkt die ArmeThere is a fallacy that airlines are only safe because they fly shiny, new aircraft which are so technologically sophisticated that errors have been engineered out of the system. 

We have heard many doctors and nurses come to the conclusion – wrongly so – that healthcare has nothing to learn from the airline industry because we have to deal with old and infirm patients with multiple co-morbidities. 

That fallacy conveniently forgets that planes are flown by humans and no matter how new and how technically sophisticated the hardware, if the pilot commits an error, the machine may not be able to compensate.