Indexed on: 29 Oct '02Published on: 29 Oct '02Published in: Der Unfallchirurg
Patient safety is determined by the performance safety of the medical team. Errors in medicine are amongst the leading causes of death of hospitalized patients. These numbers call for action. Backgrounds, methods and new forms of training are introduced in this article.Concepts from safety research are transformed to the field of emergency medical treatment. Strategies from realistic patient simulator training sessions and innovative training concepts are discussed.The reasons for the high numbers of errors in medicine are not due to a lack of medical knowledge, but due to human factors and organisational circumstances. A first step towards an improved patient safety is to accept this. We always need to be prepared that errors will occur. A next step would be to separate "error" from guilt (culture of blame) allowing for a real analysis of accidents and establishment of meaningful incident reporting systems. Concepts with a good success record from aviation like "crew resource management" (CRM) training have been adapted my medicine and are ready to use. These concepts require theoretical education as well as practical training. Innovative team training sessions using realistic patient simulator systems with video taping (for self reflexion) and interactive debriefing following the sessions are very promising.As the need to reduce error rates in medicine is very high and the reasons, methods and training concepts are known, we are urged to implement these new training concepts widely and consequently. To err is human - not to counteract it is not.