What health systems can learn from airplane flight crews

Crew resource management, an aviation strategy that can be adapted to healthcare settings, helps reduce adverse events and results in cost savings, according to a study published in American Journal of Medical Quality.

Crew resource management is a process first used by airplane crew members to spot safety threats, come up with a plan to avoid or lessen them and communicate that plan to the crew. It combines elements of teamwork, such as situational awareness, communication and task management, and human factors, such as coordination and decision-making.

Researchers examined the effect of using crew resource management training at about 3,000 health system from July 2010 to July 2013. Employees in 12 areas were trained at a cost of $3.6 million.

They found that the total number of adverse events avoided was 735, and cost savings for the health systems ranged from $12.6 million up to $28 million.

They calculated that the overall return on investment for crew resource management training ranged from $9.1 million to $24.4 million.

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