A natural fit?
Healthcare systems entail many unique factors that are at variance with HRO industries. Even though some HRO characteristics have been adopted or adapted by healthcare systems, such as the use of checklists, the unique factors of healthcare pose a challenge. These are the increased frequency of human-tohuman interactions and associated communication challenges, and the complex vagaries of our diagnostic processes.3
Healthcare professionals are not engineers or pilots and our way of doing business is fraught with uncertainty and variability. Many of our diagnostic and therapeutic interventions are based on insufficient evidence and are over-utilised, thus increasing risks and the potential for harm.
Most importantly, patients are not aeroplanes. They are far more complex than aeroplanes. They have morbidities and comorbidities, genetic propensities, fears, belief systems, social and economic confounders, intellectual and cognitive challenges, and language and fluency issues.
Because best and safest outcomes are dependent on patient engagement, patients should be viewed as components of the healthcare system, not passive recipients of healthcare services (like passengers sitting in an aeroplane). This perspective is an integral component in a high-reliability system that is focused on avoiding risk.
Dr Dan Cohen is International Medical Director at Datix Inc. In his role as consultant in patient safety and risk management, Dr Cohen advises global thought leaders and speaks at conferences worldwide on improving patient outcomes.