Implementing resilience engineering to improve the quality and safety of care

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Dr Janet Anderson, King’s College London

Resilience engineering (RE) is an emerging paradigm for understanding complex systems such as healthcare. Resilience can be defined as the ability of a system or an organisation to adjust its functioning to produce successful outcomes even when under pressure and experiencing unexpected disturbances. RE proposes that safety and adverse events emerge from the adaptations that healthcare workers make to cope with the pressures and variability they encounter, such as high patient numbers, lack of equipment, or staff shortages. Their ability to adapt to these pressures usually creates successful outcomes, but if their ability to adapt is overwhelmed or their adaptations are not successful, adverse outcomes result.

Improvement efforts are currently almost solely based on understanding how things went wrong but the learning from successful outcomes is not harnessed. The goal of an RE approach is therefore to understand the adaptations that people make to ensure successful outcomes and to understand how to increase their ability to make adaptations that lead to success. In recent years an enthusiastic RE community has formed and there has been lively debate about the ideas. However the application of these ideas in practice is not straightforward and examples in healthcare are just beginning to emerge.

What is the purpose of your workshop?

The workshop will focus on the practical challenges of translating resilience engineering into practice and consider its contribution to improving care. Methodological approaches will be discussed and examples from ongoing work will be presented. Participants will work in small groups to identify how RE principles could inform an identified care quality problem.

Who is your intended audience?

HF practitioners, researchers, clinicians and others interested in the potential of resilience engineering and in acquiring new practical skills.

What key skills, tools or knowledge do you want your participants to take away?

Participants will gain knowledge of resilience engineering and its key concepts and precepts, tools for implementing resilience engineering to improve the quality of care and a proposed plan for applying resilience engineering to an identified quality problem.

What activities will you use to engage your participants and help them learn?

The workshop will involve a combination of
• Short presentations on the principles of resilience engineering, a theoretical model that can be used to guide practical application of the approach, and emerging results from work on resilience in emergency care and the care of older people.
• Practical exercises to be completed in small groups. Exercises will be interspersed between the presentations and will allow participants to apply the principles discussed in the presentations.
• Facilitated group discussion on the learning from the exercises

Date & place

19 - 21 April 2016
Staverton Park, Daventry, Northamptonshire

Organised by

Join delegates from:

Institute of Occupational Medicine
Royal Air Force
Health and Safety Executive
Office of Rail and Road
Rail Safety and Standards Board
Greenstreet Berman
The Keil Centre
DCA Design
and many more