Health & Safety

August 7, 2014

Culture change: Aviation safety in healthcare

Senior Airman Tory Cusimano
Headquarters Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Langley Air Force Base, Va.  — The Air Combat Command Surgeon General’s office pioneered a program bringing operational risk management and flight line safety procedures into hospitals and dental squadrons across the Air Force.

Brig. Gen. Daniel Wyman, Air Combat Command Surgeon General and a team of ACC aerospace physiologists, well-versed in operational risk management and medical risks of flight procedures, have introduced flight line processes that will unify procedures inside Air Force operating rooms across the globe.

“We are setting up our operating rooms to a single standard,” Wyman said. “In hospitals, you might go to two different operating rooms and experience two different ways of doing things. Our goal is for any doctor, or any surgical technician, to PCS from one base to another and be able to jump right in.”

The program focuses on several key concepts of aviation safety including standardization, team-based accountability, and mishap investigations. The concepts are being adapted from the principles of operational risk management. This enables Air Force members in the medical field to determine the best course of action for any given situation.

The goals of the enhancements are to preserve patient health and enhance mission effectiveness at all levels while preserving assets.

The procedures also aim to minimize the risks that come with working in medical facilities that judiciously use the best current evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients to prevent mistakes or infections.

“There is always a risk for infection, whether it be after surgery or something as simple as placing an IV,” said Wyman. “By providing step-by-step standards on how to perform a task, we can be sure it is being done in a way that prevents infection.”

Another aspect of the program is team-based accountability. At any time during a procedure, team members are encouraged and expected to speak up if something is wrong. TeamSTEPPS, which stands for Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety, enhances attitudes toward teamwork, develops participant knowledge about effective team practice, and improves team skills within the unit.

“By utilizing programs like TeamSTEPPS, we are slowly building a culture to change behavior with a new emphasis on team dynamics.” said Lt. Col. Thomas Massa, 633 MDG’s Aerospace Medicine Squadron aerospace physiologist. “Every member of the team is empowered to speak up and say ‘hold on, we are doing this wrong.’”

Communication is encouraged among the team so Airmen know their roles and the roles of others going into a procedure. If everybody knows the plan, Massa said. “Everyone will know if it goes awry.”

Medical investigations will now focus on a lessons learned approach for correcting future mistakes instead of levying punishments for human errors.

“We don’t want our Airmen to be afraid to tell us what went wrong,” Wyman said. “At the end of the day, we just want to know what happened so we can fix it.”

Langley Air Force Base, was the test bed for the programs, which Wyman said all fall under the umbrella of a culture change. The results were briefed to Air Force Medical Operations Agency, which then set the procedures in place Air Force-wide.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

9/11 Tower Challenge held at UofA

The Never Forgotten 9/11 Tower Challenge was held at the University of Arizona Football Stadium on Sept. 11. Approximately 350 participants, including personnel from D-M, attempted the challenge of climbing 2,071 stairs. This f...
 
 

Core elements work together

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — The Air Force has built a suicide prevention program based on 11 overlapping core elements that stress community involvement and leadership in the prevention of suicides in the military: Leadership involvement — Air Force leaders actively support the entire spectrum of suicide prevention initiatives in the community. Addressing suicide...
 
 

Keep sports safe

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Playing sports is fun and it helps people keep in shape and relieve stress. However, if one is not careful, playing sports can result in injuries that keep Airmen on the sideline and out of work. “The main cause of sports-related injuries is over aggressive play and people going...
 

 
DoD

Ice bucket challenge – What does DOD say?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — If you have been following social media lately, you’ve seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge all over your newsfeed and Instagram. This has become an internet phenomenon in which people get doused with ice water to raise money to combat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease....
 
 

Air Force Enlisted Village: Not just a place to live, a place to call home

I first visited the Air Force Enlisted Village as a young first sergeant in 2009, when I was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. I went to visit with the Tyndall Active Airmen’s Association, Tyndall’s E-1 to E-4 Professional Association, and was amazed at what I saw. This was also the first time I...
 
 

Advise Airmen of rights before asking questions

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Every day supervisors are faced with challenging scenarios and situations that require them to engage in efforts to help their Airmen. When this engagement is due to a negative act such as theft, damage to property or other possible legal violations, we must resist the instinct to question them...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin