11:15 am-12:15 pm
Room: 224 AB North

Essential Qualities of Highly Reliable Organizations: A Transition from Blaming to Learning
Presenter: Susan Gidding, RN, and Sarah Barber, EMT-P FP-C 

This session will highlight lessons in high reliability learned from the aviation industry, and demonstrate how to apply these lessons toward improving quality and safety of patient care. Aviation is often referred to as "highly reliable." Elements that have proven critical to the safety of high-risk industries like aviation are equally relevant to the healthcare industry. Commitment to a culture of learning and reporting is coupled with a profound understanding and application of human factors. Additionally, implementation of a Just Culture is believed to increase reporting of near misses, patient safety events, and latent conditions. During this session, you will learn how Life Flight Network made progress toward becoming a highly reliable organization. The fundamental steps included fostering psychological safety for employees to report, providing a robust and accessible reporting system to all staff, and ensuring loop closure on all quality and patient safety reports submitted.

Learning Objectives:

  • Improve transparency related to reporting the type, volume, and outcomes of quality and patient safety events
  • Develop a loop-closure process for all quality and safety reports
  • Apply Just Culture principles to provide psychological safety in your organization
  • Evaluate your current QM system by identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) methodology

NAHQ NEXT Speaker Susan GiddingSusan Gidding has 35 years of experience working in the healthcare industry, including critical care nursing, patient safety, quality management, and 17 years employed as a flight nurse. She has presented at regional, state, and national conferences. Topics included: a Just Culture, Human Factors, Quality Management, Crew Resource Management, TeamSTEPPS, Highly Reliable Organizations, and Root Cause Analysis. Susan obtained her master's degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Health Policy. Her research included: healthcare teamwork, patient safety and utilization of air medical resources. Susan is currently employed as Life Flight Network's (LFN) Director of Quality Management. LFN is the largest not-for-profit air medical program in the US. Susan is a member of the international Ground and Air Medical Transport Quality Collaborative.


NAHQ NEXT Speaker Sarah BarberAs a lifelong student of psychology and human interaction, personal experience and research on the topic has guided Sarah Barber's approach to fostering a culture of non-punitive reporting. In this digital age where face-to-face communication is increasingly limited, Barber has become committed to finding ways to help everyone communicate better. Additionally, when it comes to incident reporting and Quality Management, a Just Culture and closed-loop communication are essential elements to an organization's accreditation from governing bodies such as CAMTS. As such, Barber's role as a flight paramedic and Quality Manager for Life Flight Network has given her extensive practice. In the setting of air medical transport, these items are of the utmost importance, both for our safety and for that of our patients.

Audience Level: CPHQ/Mid
Topic: Quality Review & Accountability
Date: September 16