What Can Doctors Learn From Pilots?

A few decades ago the aviation industry began to encourage a different system of reporting errors. Instead of an error being used to shame and blame a pilot or other professional, the error began being used as a learning tool for the industry.
This shift in error reporting is seen as one of the reasons for the improved
aviation safety record in this country over the past few decades.

Now, Medicare and others want to bring the same system of communication and learning from adverse events to the medical profession. Yet, recent data released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicates that we still have a way to go before that is accomplished. The Agency found that most hospitals are still more interested in punishing medical professionals who commit an error than learning from those mistakes.

It is important to note that what Medicare and others are talking about are internal hospital and medical care procedures – not medical malpractice lawsuits. Patients who are harmed by medical errors, or their survivors, would still have the right to file medical malpractice claims for their injuries.

What do you think? Does fear of blame and shame prevent medical professionals from learning from their mistakes? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts with us.