October 16, 2013By Lance Baily

Forbes: “Miracle on the Hudson” Pilot Capt. Sully Works on Patient Safety

Robert J. Szczerba, contributor to Forbes and founder of Simulation-based “X Tech Ventures” has written a great piece on the recent work of Captain Sully – the pilot who successfully landed a engineless plane in the hudson river saving all 155 passengers back in 2009. Captain “Sully” Sullenberger is working with John Hopkins to explore patient safety issues.


Szczerba writes “What lessons on patient safety can be taught by thought leaders from such diverse domains as aerospace, consumer research, defense, nuclear power, education, and hospitality? These were some of the intriguing questions explored last week at the inaugural Forum on Emerging Topics in Patient Safety, jointly sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and the World Health Organization.

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[At the event] Dr. Peter Pronovost, Johns Hopkins Medicine Senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality, is one of the nation’s leading advocates for patient safety. During his keynote address, Pronovost explained that “… medical errors and preventable patient harm is the third leading cause of death in the United States and contributes to an estimated $800 billion—one third of all health care costs—spent each year on unneeded or inefficiently delivered care.” Click here to read how patient deaths due to medical error have increased to 220,000-440,000 every year.”

Szczerba continues “Captain Sully & each of the speakers described safety-related challenges in their own fields, and encouraged discussions as to how they might be applied to the clinical environment, with a focus on:

  • Designing safe and highly reliable systems of care delivery
  • Ways to quickly disseminate and incorporate best practices in the areas of safety and quality
  • Developing performance measures that are meaningful to patients, providers, payers, and regulators

The most interesting revelation was that the technologies and processes needed to reduce patient harm already exist and have been proven in other industries time and time again.  The obvious imperative for healthcare is to leverage these best practices to change the underlying culture.”

Read all of Robert’s Article on “Captain ‘Sully’ Sullenberger and Johns Hopkins Tackle Patient Safety” here.

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Captain Sully also wrote an introduction to Beyond the Checklist: What Else Healthcare Can Learn from Aviation – and you can read my full book review of this amazing work here!

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