Lessons Learned in Aviation Simulator Training Can Be Applied to Healthcare – Healthcare

With the development of patient simulators, the use of simulation is now rapidly increasing for healthcare professionals, particularly in anaesthesia, surgery and critical care environments. High Fidelity Patient Simulator development has been driven by the need to train technical skills, but the value of advanced patient simulation in the training of human factors skills, known in healthcare as Team Resource Management, is now also being recognised.To date, clinician assessment has largely focused upon an individual’s technical abilities, but it has failed to examine significant human factors, such as situational awareness, decision making and workload management.Healthcare, like the aviation industry is a technically complex, dynamic and high risk environment. It is an interdependent process carried out by teams of individuals, who have varying roles and responsibilities.Research suggests that a majority of incidents and accidents in healthcare are not due to deficient technical ability of clinicians, but the result of failures in areas such as communication and decision making. These are areas that have been addressed in aviation training since the 90s. Essentially, the application of lessons learned in aviation Crew Resource Management training, could save lives in healthcare.Instructors from the aviation and healthcare industries are now working alongside each other to develop techniques in teaching and assessing non-technical skills in the simulation environment.Joint training allows for shared learning and the opportunity to explore the perspective of human factors in another professional setting. The focus of these courses often presents healthcare practitioners with new perspectives on how influences such as organisational culture can impact upon human performance and safety.Human Factors training has been prevalent in the aviation industry since the 1980’s, however the current developments outlined above will demonstrate how the application of aviation derived training techniques to other high risk industries could reduce adverse incidents and accidents. Transferring these approaches in to healthcare will revolutionise existing protocols, improving safety and ultimately save patients lives.