Houston, Texas – Knowing that a good safety culture begins with knowledge, education, and communication, CommuteAir recently joined forces with a group of surgeons and nurses from the Cleveland Clinic to discuss ideas and share best practices with the goal of enhancing safety for both organizations.
During an all-day summit at CommuteAir’s Houston Training Center, leaders of both organizations discussed a variety of relevant topics including safety management systems, operating room safety, crew resource management, voluntary safety reporting, crisis management, and training the next generation of aviation and medical professionals.
“Aviation and medicine have a shared goal of needing to get it right 100% of the time, because if errors or accidents happen, the consequences can be severe,” said Derek Sharp, CommuteAir Managing Director of Safety. “If we as an airline were only 99.5 percent safe, we’d statistically have an aircraft accident every eight days.”
Checklists, briefings and debriefings, effective communication, regulations, and new technologies are some of the similarities shared between aviation and medicinal safety. Medicine, like aviation, has changed significantly in the last thirty years. For example, gone are the days where the surgeon or captain was the only voice in the operating room or flight deck. Over time, and thanks to learning experiences along the way, each discipline has adopted a unified process where all team members have an active voice in raising questions or concerns that impact safety.
“The Clinic produced a fantastic video on ‘Speaking Up,’ promoting the importance of employees at all levels raising concerns when safety is in question, and stopping work if necessary,” said Sharp. “One of my goals is to get something similar produced for our company that speaks to this and reinforces the importance of every employee raising a concern when they have one.”
Gathering together for important safety conversations benefit the public in many ways. The professionals who work in these industries are self-motivated, lifelong learners who have a determination to support their patients and customers each day. It also demonstrates that even though these professionals are highly skilled and trained, they are willing to reach out and work with other industries in order to continue to maximize and enhance safety.
“When someone gets on an airplane, they assume that it is safe, and when someone sees a physician, they assume they will get better,” Sharp said. “By sharing our best strategies with one another, we all grow as professionals, which is a huge benefit to the public and helps to achieve safe outcomes.”
One of the highlights of the day was the opportunity for Cleveland Clinic representatives to experience the Embraer ERJ145 simulator, the purpose of which was to demonstrate how pilots use a methodical and standardized approach to managing stressful and complex situations. While pilots may not have all of the information in the moment, they have to quickly assess the situation, complete their immediate action items, reference their Quick Reference Handbook, communicate with Dispatch and Maintenance Control, and work together to make a safe decision. These methods are repeatable and drive safe outcomes, even in the most complex set of circumstances.
“I’m so delighted to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Base Skull Neurosurgey team from the Cleveland Clinic,” said Rick Hoefling, CommuteAir President and CEO. “The sharing of ideas, processes and our overall approach to safety was an incredible experience for me and I’m sure for all that participated.”
The CommuteAir safety team hopes this collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic is only the first of many more to come.
“Collaboration like this demonstrates that the CommuteAir Safety Department wishes to be at the cutting edge of safety in aviation,” added Sharp. “We partnered with a world class medical organization to learn and share information, and to reinforce our commitment of supporting and caring for our passengers and our frontline employees. We would love the opportunity to observe those professionals in their work settings as well.”