Friday, June 12, 2009

ATC Goes to the ER



It’s not what you think. Actually, it’s rather nice -- and interesting.

Study finds air traffic control tracking method reduces errors in trauma management

”New research published in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows that a method used by air traffic controllers tracks patient data more effectively and with fewer errors compared with current hospital methods, primarily the use of clipboards. “

It seems that some motivated people decided to see if another safety-oriented system could improve their safety-oriented system. I’ve heard whispers about this for a few years (mostly in regards to shift work.) I’m glad to hear it seems to be working.

”"For decades, air traffic controllers have managed the complexities of airspace and aircraft handoff with a simple, manual method that has evolved to an efficient and nearly flawless system," says Jason D. Hoskins, MA, of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Maryland. "Our study successfully demonstrated that this method translates to trauma management, and results in increased accuracy and awareness of patient recording, tracking and throughput management. We are currently in discussions to test a more mature version of the system in clinic." “

Ironically, the system they’ve developed is based on flight progress strips -- the very system that is been so maligned for so long by people that didn’t know what they were talking about. People that thought efficiency came before safety.

Oh yes, boys and girls. I still carry a place in my heart for flight progress strips and I still believe URET was a mistake. Take a good look around you the next time you’re in the control room. How many could work without URET ? Even worse, how many think they could ? (Sorry for the “inside baseball”, non-Center controller readers.) You know it will happen one day. Maybe one day soon.

Don Brown
June 12, 2009

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