Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Air Force Efficiency in Emek's OR
Before an Israeli Air Force jet takes off on any mission, a comprehensive check list is performed by the multi-disciplinary team who are responsible for every aspect of the flight. The teams include mechanics, weapons' technicians, ground crews, pilots and navigators. There is no room for error, so the aircraft and the mission are scrupulously check listed so everyone knows exactly where the plane will be flying and why. The unparalleled successes of our Air Force are testimony to the worth of this system.
Dr. Orna Blondheim, CEO of the Emek Medical Center, was a member of one of those Israel Air Force teams during her military service and she remembers well the lessons she learned. There is no substitute for thoroughness, double checking and verification of details and Dr. Blondheim deeply understands how this proven theory applies to healthcare.
During the past year, EMC has incorporated this comprehensive check list system into its Operating Rooms prior to every surgery. Present for the verification of details are the patient, surgeon, anesthesiologist, assisting physicians and OR nurses. Verbal and written confirmation is performed to verify the patient's name, the part of the body that is to be operated on, the readiness of surgical instrumentation relevant to that particular procedure, double checking medical gas systems and final clarification that everyone present knows their position and relative responsibilities during the procedure. Only then, after all signatures are affixed to the document, is the patient anesthetized.
It is precisely this air force-type efficiency that accounts for EMC's internationally recognized standards (JCI accreditation) in patient safety. Dr. Blondheim explains the parallels between an Air Force mission and surgery: 'Both represent highly complex procedures that depend upon a multi-disciplinary team of experts that need to perform in perfect unison for there to be a successful outcome to the mission. There are inherent dangers in every flight as well as in every surgery. Medical literature testifies that many unfortunate human errors could have been avoided.'
Dr. Blondheim initiated a unique tour of an Israeli Air Force base for senior EMC surgical staff where the practical elements of the pre-flight check list system were discussed in depth. Today, this is standard practice prior to every surgical procedure in every medical discipline in the Emek Medical Center. The people of Israel have once again benefited from EMC's uncompromising drive for better patient safety.
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Israel's Emek Medical Center
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