Are people really like airplanes?
As I was flying back home after another invigorating year at the SHM annual meeting, I started thinking about the number of times I have heard the healthcare industry compared to the airline industry. About how they have gotten it all right, and we have gotten it all wrong. And I started thinking; maybe it’s because people aren’t really like airplanes. Imagine you are air traffic control, and this is the sign out you get from an incoming pilot: “Good day, air traffic control, we need your help to safely land our 7 ton jumbo jet approaching from the east. We overfilled the fuel tank, are 7000 pounds over acceptable landing weight, and have a 79 year old hydraulic system. We are flying with a single functioning wing after having neglected to get the broken wing fixed, despite repeated requests by our home engineer. We appear to be approaching at 500 feet under acceptable altitude and are dangerously low on cabin pressure”. In the midst of trying to negotiate the safe landing of that plane, 3 minutes later you see a second plane come on the radar screen, who comes over the crackly radio system to give you the following sign out: “Good day air traffic control, we need your help to safely land our combustible steel machine, after having suffered the loss of one engine and both horizontal stabilizers, with a rudder that is hanging by a thread”. You then get notified that a kamikaze aircraft is heading directly toward the air traffic control tower with estimated impact about 6 minutes. But, oh by the way, for those simultaneously landing aircraft, you should follow the best practices and evidence based procedures for their landing, and when you are done, be sure to report and publicly display the >300 required measures, to benchmark how you did
And with that, farewell, thank you for another great year, and keep up the good work.