Lessons from the Airline Industry

By Wolf Klassen, Vice President, Program Support
 
These days, when most of us get on a plane, we don’t typically give a second thought to how such a large, steel machine is able to get off the ground, fly thousands of kilometres and then land safely.
 
If you think it about it, it’s pretty awesome. And if you actually pause for a moment, during the process and watch, you’ll see there’s a lot of moving parts; lots of people involved; and a lot of checks and balances.
 
Last week I had the privilege to present the great work we do at TEGH at three separate conferences in Vancouver and Kelowna. I also had the opportunity to visit my son who is studying out west. On the flight home I took a few moments to observe the process.
 
Like many other high-risk industries, the airline industry has come a long way to improve the safety of air travel and virtually eliminated error.
 
How, in such a short time, have they accomplished this?
 
For starters, they’ve empowered everyone involved in the process of flying to share accountability for the safety of the flight. From the baggage handlers to flight attendants, maintenance crews, pilots, security and to air traffic control, all contribute to making sure my plane took off and landed without a glitch.
 
And more importantly, any one person along the chain of command would have been empowered to stop my flight if they saw something wrong.
 
Well, much like in the airline industry, here at TEGH, we all play a role in addressing safety concerns when we see them. In fact, there isn’t a role in the hospital that doesn’t have an impact on safety. We all need to know how and when to complete an incident report and what gets done with them after we complete them. We all need to know how important hand washing is and when we need to do it. We all need to know what we can do to minimize the risk of violence in the workplace.
 
And we will all have the opportunity to refresh our safety knowledge this week as we celebrate Canadian Patient Safety Week.
 
Let’s don our gloves, wave our bleach wipes, wash our hands and give a big cheer to celebrating what we do to keep patients safe. We’ll be hosting a number of activities and education sessions to help us brush up on our knowledge.
 
*Patient Safety Fair, G2 Conference Room, Wednesday October 28th, 11:00 am -2:00 pm
 
*Lunch & Learns: G2 Conference Room
Monday: Workplace Violence – Physical Manoeuvres Refresh (12:00-12:30 p.m. & 12:30-1:00 p.m.)
Tuesday: Do you hear that? Alarm Fatigue at TEGH (11:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m. & 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
Thursday: Learning from Incident Reporting (11:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m. & 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
 
*Road Shows:
Critical Incidents: when do I call my manager? (Monday)
Patient Videos (Tuesday)
Positive Patient ID and Specimen Collection (Thursday)
 
*CPSI Virtual Forum Webinars: Risk Boardroom
Thursday & Friday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 pm.
 
Please join us! We all have a role to play to ensure that every patient’s plane takes off and lands safely!
 
Safety is everyone’s business.
 
Please join me on Twitter @wolfklassen

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