Aviation’s Normal Operations Safety Audit: a safety management and educational tool for health care? Results of a small-scale trial
journal contributionposted on 12.03.2018, 10:05 by Simon A. Bennett
BACKGROUND: A National Health Service (NHS) contingent liability for medical error claims of over £26 billion. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the safety management and educational benefits of adapting aviation's Normal Operations Safety Audit (NOSA) to health care. METHODS: In vivo research, a NOSA was performed by medical students at an English NHS Trust. After receiving training from the author, the students spent 6 days gathering data under his supervision. RESULTS: The data revealed a threat-rich environment, where errors - some consequential - were made (359 threats and 86 errors were recorded over 2 weeks). The students claimed that the exercise improved their observational, investigative, communication, teamworking and other nontechnical skills. CONCLUSION: NOSA is potentially an effective safety management and educational tool for health care. It is suggested that 1) the UK General Medical Council mandates that all medical students perform a NOSA in fulfillment of their degree; 2) the participating NHS Trusts be encouraged to act on students' findings; and 3) the UK Department of Health adopts NOSA as a cornerstone risk assessment and management tool.