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Maximizing Teamwork in the EP Lab April 9, 2012

Posted by Kathleen Blake, MD, MPH, FHRS in Allied Health Professionals, Cardiac Rhythm Management, EP Physicians, Scientific Sessions.
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On Thursday, May 10, during Heart Rhythm 2012, Drs. Lucian Leape, Saul Weingart and Jeffery Cooper will present a first-of-its kind (for HRS) interactive symposium about team performance and challenges in the electrophysiology lab. As giants in the patient safety movement, they will analyze a case of radiation safety during Afib ablation based on a situation that could happen in any lab, and will demonstrate how team performance determines patient outcomes.

The program will utilize simulation to replace a real experience with a guided lesson. During this exercise, attendees will learn how to break down barriers to the sharing of safety information while juggling competing priorities and managing a crisis, with the aim of ultimately reducing risk to our patients.

We all know teamwork is critical in sports. For example, take note of the recent Kentucky Wildcats victory over the Kansas Jayhawks, which enabled them to clinch the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

But what about teamwork in an EP lab?

Advances in medical technology have enabled physicians to perform increasingly complex procedures. These advances have saved countless lives and greatly improved the quality of life for patients. Yet, despite highly evolved tools and instruments, and sometimes because of them, medical errors occur.

For this reason, well-developed strategies to improve human performance and reliability are critical. Physicians, working in concert with other health care professionals as part of a team, need to learn and hone strategies to function as a team, in order to reduce uncertainty and resolve conflict during high-stakes, challenging situations. Teams of physicians and allied professionals that manage themselves effectively, possess crisis management skills, and apply them appropriately, can reduce risk to their patients and eliminate safety defects.

The old adage, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” applies to high-performing teams.

While at Heart Rhythm 2012, a compelling program with many concurrent sessions, make a commitment to your patients, your team and yourself: be sure that at least one person from your EP lab team attends this session, gets one of a hundred available response clickers to interact with the presenters and brings home the lessons learned from these remarkable pioneers in patient safety.

Kathleen Blake, MD, MPH
Chair, Health Policy Committee


1. christinechiuman - May 17, 2012

Thanks so much for organizing this important session and this phenonmenal faculty!
It is timely to highlight patient safety issues and human factors methods to apply in the EP arena. If at all possible, please put this session as web cast on the HRS website so that lab staff can view the presentation and hear the discussions.

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