Aviation’s Black Boxes Are Coming to Healthcare Training

black boxes in healthcare

This summer I was thrilled to provide the SESAM closing plenary address where I shared the past, present and future of healthcare simulation — and made direct calls for healthcare to integrate a “blackbox” into healthcare. The argument is simple: recording devices have been successfully improving aviation training and performance outcomes since the 1970s — and in a day and age where police body cameras are becoming affordable for every single officer, clearly healthcare is on a similar path. Today here is more support for such a conversation from Richard Corder, Partner at Wellesley Partners which provides Executive Coaching in Boston and throughout the Northeast:

There are many industries, other than healthcare, that work in complex environments where the actions of one human can impact the life of another. Healthcare leaders need to acknowledge the reality that we have much to learn from other industries. While we cannot mimic others entirely, the same general operating principles (including mindfulness that serves as the overarching organizational spirit) that are the foundation for other high reliability organizations (i.e.: aviation, nuclear power) can work just as well to prevent harm from occurring in health systems.


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One example of a safe practice or technology that could shared across industries is the in-flight data recorder found on all commercial airliners. It was because of the in-flight data recorder on board the two Boeing 747s that crashed into one another on the island of Tenerife in 1977 that we learned so much about the decisions and behaviors resulting in that game-changing airline disaster.  The time stamped voice commands of those at the controls were captured in real-time, and provided a blueprint of what “not to do” along with a snapshot of what needed to be changed.

Now envision this: following a surgical procedure, regardless of the outcome, we have the opportunity to review every piece of data related to the procedure.

Read the full article on Healthcare Executives Network


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