An Important Lesson from the Aviation Industry

For healthcare organisations to continue to make significant strides in reducing preventable patient harm, they must first put on their "oxygen mask."

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Over the past decade, healthcare has taken many notes from the aviation industry,

including the importance of checklists, cyclical processing, evaluation of safety events, and how to boost compliance and intercommunication. It is no surprise, then, that even the preflight safety demonstration can offer valuable insights into the ways we interact with patients, staff, providers, and all other healthcare entities.

We’ve all been there: crammed in a tiny seat, wedged shoulder to shoulder between two strangers, trying desperately to send one last email before we put our devices into airplane mode when the flight attendants begin their preflight safety demonstration. It is here we are reminded that if the oxygen masks deploy that we are to put our own mask on first.

The purpose of this, of course, is to secure our own safety as the first of many steps toward helping those around you. If you help a neighbor or family member with their mask before applying your own, then you run the risk of not being able to respond to the crisis efficiently or effectively as loss of oxygen begins to take its toll.

How The “Mask Rule” Applies to Healthcare Organisations

For healthcare organisations to continue to make significant strides in improving patient safety and reducing preventable patient harm, they must first put on their own mask, which means that their internal processes are healthy enough to enable them to work efficiently and effectively.

In this way, it is important to view your healthcare organisation as a sentient being. After all, healthcare organisations share many of the same traits as organisms; they require sustenance and fuel to thrive, they give off waste, they react in surprising ways to outside influence, and so on.

Not enough can be said for the benefits of first recognising these similarities to run the diagnostics necessary to guarantee your organisation is healthy and productive. From there, you and your team will be better equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to move forward and promote the health of others.

How to Perform a Comprehensive Health Check

Health checks for organisations are similar in many ways to those performed on patients. First, you take a step-by-step process to evaluate the most vital systems. If any of those systems require addressing, all connected processes and platforms are further evaluated to mitigate issues in other areas of the structure.

Datix health checks are performed by consultants who work closely with organisational leaders to establish strong understanding and pass on valuable information that can be used to train staff, eliminate useless practices and technologies, and upgrade all outmoded systems. When all corners of your healthcare organisation have been evaluated and improved, the result will be a team of medical and clinical professionals more adept at supporting the overall safety of those they treat.

What’s more, this can provide your organisation with the oxygen required to become more efficient and effective than it already is, thereby taken additional steps toward zero preventable harm.