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21 April 2015

Can healthcare learn lessons from aviation? Apparently so...and in more ways than one!

By Laura Gibbons

While watching BBC News this morning over breakfast, they ran a segment that piqued my interest – a hospital has enlisted a pilot to help their staff when it comes to challenging their superiors. In my job, I work across a number of different sectors, including healthcare and aviation, so I was intrigued to see what they had to say.

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According to the report, junior staff within the airline industry are encouraged to speak up to more senior staff, including pilots, if they believe they have made a mistake.

John Radcliffe Hospital, a teaching hospital in Oxford, has enlisted a pilot familiar with this process to help train their medical staff. It is hoped the training will mean doctors and nurses do not fear speaking up against those in authority.

The process follows on from the 1977 tragedy in Tenerifewhen two jets collided – the pilot made a critical mistake but junior colleagues struggled to find the courage to speak out.

In the face of recent tragedies, the aviation industry has always been very good at learning from mistakes and is constantly looking to improve the way they work and report.

So, what else can healthcare, and other industries, learn from the aviation sector? ‘Culture of Safety’ is an integral part of most sectors and therefore has to be treated as a priority – patient safety is no different from passenger safety; specific attitudes, processes and procedures are therefore inherent. But how do we know what we are doing?

This is where technology can do the work for you. If you could centrally store, manage and track  revisions of processes and procedures, track any  non-conformances,  incidents and audits, think of what that power of information can give you – oversight across your whole organisation as well as the ability to not only learn from mistakes but prevent incidents from occurring in the first place.

In the cockpit, safety, quality and communication are key. On the hospital floor, safety, quality and communication are key. So, the question is – are the two industries really that different?

To find out more about how Ideagen helps healthcare and aviation organisations improve their business and achieve operational excellence  contact us today.

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