First it was aviation, then the Toyota assembly line. Now physicians are looking to auto-racing pit crews for ways to improve health care quality and patient safety.
Hospitals in at least a dozen countries, including the U.S., are learning how to translate the split-second timing and near-perfect synchronization of Formula One pit crews to the high-risk handoffs of patients from surgery to recovery and intensive care. The racing crews can refuel a car and change all four tires in seven seconds, and no F1 driver has died at the wheel in a Grand Prix race since 1994.
The key lessons physicians, nurses and other health professionals can get from these well-honed teams is how to use briefings and checklists to prevent errors, apply technology to transfer key information and learn afterward by mining data, according to a recent study published in the British medical journal Quality and Safety in Health Care. The findings were based on structured interviews with the technical managers of nine F1 racing teams.
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