Original ArticleCan the Aviation Industry be Useful in Teaching Oncology about Safety?

Research paper by J.M.Davies∗†‡, G.Delaney§||¶

Indexed on: 07 Nov '17Published on: 01 Oct '17Published in: Clinical Oncology


Healthcare practitioners have long considered aviation as a domain from which much can be learned about safety. Over the past 30 years, attempts have been made to apply aviation safety-related concepts to healthcare. Although some applications have been successful, a few decades later, many healthcare safety experts have learned that the appeal of the aviation–healthcare analogy is an illusion. Both domains are so basically dissimilar that simple adoption of aviation concepts will not be successful. However, what has succeeded is healthcare's adaptation of specific aviation safety concepts. Three concepts, investment in safety, human factors and safety management systems, are described and examples are given of adapted applications to healthcare/clinical oncology. Finally, there is a need to ensure that these concepts are applied systematically throughout healthcare rather than sporadically and without a centralised mandate, to help ensure success and improved patient and provider safety.