Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the implementation of a broad-scale team resource management (TRM) program on safety culture in a Dutch eye hospital, detailing the program’s content and procedures. Aviation-based TRM training is recognized as a useful approach to increase patient safety, but little is known about how it affects safety culture. Design/methodology/approach – Pre- and post-assessments of the hospitals’ safety culture was based on interviews with ophthalmologists, anesthesiologists, residents, nurses, and support staff. Interim observations were made at training sessions and in daily hospital practice. Findings – The program consisted of safety audits of processes and (team) activities, interactive classroom training sessions by aviation experts, a flight simulator session, and video recording of team activities with subsequent feedback. Medical professionals considered aviation experts inspiring role models and respected their non-hierarchical external perspective and focus on medical-technical issues. The post-assessment showed that ophthalmologists and other hospital staff had become increasingly aware of safety issues. The multidisciplinary approach promoted social (team) orientation that replaced the former functionally-oriented culture. The number of reported near-incidents greatly increased; the number of wrong-side surgeries stabilized to a minimum after an initial substantial reduction. Research limitations/implications – The study was observational and the hospital’s variety of efforts to improve safety culture prevented us from establishing a causal relation between improvement and any one specific intervention. Originality/value – Aviation-based TRM training can be a useful to stimulate safety culture in hospitals. Safety and quality improvements are not single treatment interventions but complex socio-technical interventions. A multidisciplinary system approach and focus on “team” instead of “profession” seems both necessary and difficult in hospital care.
Journal of Health Organization and Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 11, 2014