Sunday, January 23, 2011

Post volcano

Many of you expressed interest in my earlier two posts about the impact of the Iceland volcano on air traffic in Europe. There is a follow-up article on about this period of time and lessons learned.

Here's an interesting excerpt:

In response to claims that operators should have allowed airlines to fly, Haines states: "It would have been unthinkable to abandon the current international guidance without the necessary evidence - when you are dealing with peoples' lives it is not enough to just make up a less restrictive standard. You have to agree on a new standard based on robust evidence and data."

New standards and new procedures have been researched and developed since April 2010 - including ash measurement, ash location, charting and operational planning.

I'll leave you to read the rest of the article on your own, but I will observe that the airline industry and its regulators seem much more adept than the health care industry in systematically studying adverse and unexpected events, rigorously drawing lessons from them, sharing safety lessons even among competitors, and applying industry-wide solutions quickly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am impressed that you make use of your new leisure time by perusing aerospace technology websites. :)
Although I can't disagree with your last paragraph, the ash cloud was a catastrophic event affecting all players equally - whereas we in medicine (usually) only kill one patient at a time, attracting less attention.
The only analogy I could dream up was to imagine if Medicare suddenly announced that henceforth ANY patient death would be regarded as a 'never event' and therefore not reimbursed, unless proven otherwise.
Do you think that might stimulate a sudden deluge of patient safety research/process improvement? Or, would the hospitals spend their time trying to game the system and still not improve? I fear to know the answer.

nonlocal MD