Applying methods from commercial aviation to improve safety, reliability, efficiency and effectiveness of patient care

The traditional approach to improving safety in hospitals is to educate physicians and staff and implement new procedures. According to Public-Private Partnership to Promote Patient Safety (P5S) director Dr. Peter Pronovost, this amounts to telling people to "be more careful." A stronger intervention, says Pronovost, is one that engineers the room for error out of the equation, as hospitals were able to do when they eliminated the possibility of mistakenly connecting oxygen gas tubing to nitrous oxide tubing by making the tubing yolks incompatible. Such interventions require coordination among multiple stakeholders, including device manufacturers, government regulators, physicians and hospital staff. Using a successful approach to collaborative problem solving developed in the commercial aviation industry, this project brought together a diverse group of stakeholders from government and the health care industry. This group selected one hazard and tested the feasibility of substantially reducing it in hospitals across the country. Beyond improving patient safety, the hope is that P5S can create a model for high-return thinking around patient safety in health care.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $217,632.00

Awarded on: 12/17/2008

Time frame: 2/1/2009 - 1/31/2011

Grant Number: 63566


Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

600 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, 21287-0005


Peter J. Pronovost
Project Director