FORMULA 1 AND THE OPERATING ROOM. I posted here about Atul Gutwande’s argument that lives could be saved if doctors and nurses made greater use of checklists for complicated procedures. Here is an article about how the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London used pit stop techniques from the Ferrari Formula 1 pit crew to improve their handoffs from the cardiac care unit to the intensive care unit. “Moving the little body from one bed to another” involves transferring not only wires and equipment but also information from lengthy surgery. A mistake can place the child in mortal danger. The Formula 1 pit crew changes tires and tops up fuel in seven seconds (actually 6.9 seconds) through highly coordinated team work. Doctors at the hospital visited and observed the Formula 1 crew. The handover in the surgery unit was reviewed by the Formula team. The surgeons concluded that the Formula 1 crew had done more anticipation of things that could go wrong and had done more choreographing and rehearsal of coordinated responses when things did go wrong. One change was to establish the equivalent of the “lollipop man” in Formula 1. The lollipop man waves the car in and coordinates the pit stop. The hospital for the first time established one person who was in charge at any one time (the anesthetist at first and then the “intensivist”). The biggest differences between the hospital and Formula 1 are that the hospital deals with a much more complicated procedure and that adequate time and money allowed the race crew to have rehearsal after rehearsal, while the hospital has fewer resources for rehearsals.

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  1. Lee says:

    Ferrari got fancy and replaced the lollipop with a light system. They abandoned the lights this year after the race in Singapore. Felipe Massa got an all clear but the fuel hose wasn’t detached. He ended up dragging it halfway down the pitlane, incurring a penalty and losing out on a pretty sure win.

    It’s good to see F1 not only enriching lives, but playing a small part in saving them as well.

  2. Pingback: LESSONS ON HOSPITAL READMISSIONS. | Pater Familias

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