When any of us travel on an airplane, we know the pilot is competent.
That’s because within the last year, that pilot has had his or her technical competence tested. If their performance did not fall within a narrow mean and standard deviation, they are not flying your plane. The aviation industry has even gone beyond technical competence in its safety standards. Many of the crises that have been averted in aviation, such as the successful landing of “Miracle on the Hudson” USAirways Flight 1549, were based on teamwork concepts learned in crew resource management training sessions. In essence, these are simulated opportunities for the entire team to “practice” emergency skills together while passengers’ lives are not at risk.
This ability to assess and certify technical and teamwork competence is one of the most striking examples of where healthcare has fallen behind other high-reliability fields.