Using in situ simulation to identify and resolve latent environmental threats to patient safety: case study involving operational changes in a labor and delivery ward

Qual Manag Health Care. Jul-Sep 2010;19(3):226-30. doi: 10.1097/QMH.0b013e3181eb1452.


Since the publication of "To Err Is Human" in 1999, health care professionals have looked to high-reliability industries such as aviation for guidance on improving system safety. One of the most widely adopted aviation-derived approaches is simulation-based team training, also known as crew resource management training. In the health care domain, crew resource management training often takes place in custom-built simulation laboratories that are designed to replicate operating rooms or labor and delivery rooms. Unlike these traditional crew resource management training programs, "in situ simulation" occurs on actual patient care units, involves actual health care team members, and uses actual organization processes to train and assess team performance. During the past 24 months, our research team has conducted nearly 40 in situ simulations. In this article, we present the results from 1 such simulation: a patient who experienced a difficult labor that resulted in an emergency caesarian section and hysterectomy. During the simulation, a number of latent environmental threats to safety were identified. This article presents the latent threats and the steps that the hospital has taken to remedy them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section
  • Delivery Rooms / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Labor, Obstetric
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Patient Simulation*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Safety Management*
  • Teaching / methods*
  • Uterine Rupture