Our second day in Breckenridge was filled with powerful stories, activities, and analogies which I will keep with me as I move forward in my clinical career.
One of the most important themes that has been referred to in numerous discussions/activities is the ability of simple communication to prevent drastic medical errors and save human lives. During our discussion of the story of Michael Skolnik, in the afternoon lectures on PFACQS and high reliability organizations, and during our discussion of Why Hospitals Should Fly, numerous examples of the power of communication and its ability to prevent medical error were presented. This gave me hope–even though medical error is such a complex issue of systems engineering, if simply emphasizing and training staff members in communication would save thousands of patient lives there is no excuse to continue allowing rampant medical errors. This was an especially key takeaway for me, and I hope to bring this back to my medical school’s administration to teach some of these powerful lessons to my fellow classmates.
Throughout the day, I continued to feel increasingly empowered with regards to preventing medical error and enhancing healthcare systems to best serve the patients. Reducing medical error doesn’t have to start with a massive administrative overhaul–instead, a grassroots effort to educate health professionals and encourage/reward safe workplace practices is one of the best ways to ensure sustainable changes in health systems. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues to help galvanize these changes in the future.