More on Asiana Crash

If you follow the news on the Asiana crash and are interested in healthcare it’s impossible to ignore the parellells.  .  First are cultural issues — was someone in the crew of the Asiana flight afraid to urgently alert a superior to a problem — like low landing speed.  Then there’s the threat of too much reliance on technology.  Then there’ s the issue of experience.

New York Times article today lays a lot of this out.  But again, think about healthcare.  Aviation has made a lot of advances.  Yet cultural issues still play a factor in some places.  Question I keep asking is are hospitals in the US and other advanced countries at a stage where the Koreans are — or certainly used to be — when it comes to team relations and fear of speaking up.  From my conversations with nurses, aides and even many doctors, the answer is sadly yes.  Patients are dying every day because someone knows something and is afraid to say something that could save lives.  It is still unclear whether crew felt psychologically safe in the Asiana cockpit.  It is very clear that many in healthcare feel there is no psychological safety in their workplaces.  A nurse at a healthcare simulation conference last weekend, for example, came up to me and told me that there had been a big push in her hospital to have people report — rather than conceal — problems from which people could learn.  Two nurses did and both were fired. Wow!  That certainly reinforces the message that we want to learn from our mistakes.

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