The following commentary is the first contribution to SBM by guest author, Mark Crislip.
The airline industry in the United States is often used as an example of a complex technological system that provides high volume, inexpensive and reliable transportation to millions of people every year, that, despite sending tons of aluminum five miles into the air, has an amazing safety record. Crashes and deaths are rare despite the high intrinsic risk of flight.
It is often suggested that the policies and procedures that have been used in the airline industry be applied to health care to help increase the safely and performance of hospitals and to lower complications and deaths.
Some airline methodologies have been applied to health care with good results.
Airlines have many of the same characteristics of health care and many of the same problems in providing for their customers. The airlines are monolithic industries that often treat their passengers like cattle, all of a kind, rather than unique individuals with unique travel needs.