Within the next decade, health care will experience a massive disruption in performance requirements, stemming from public outcry over the risks of medical error in patient care. And the result will be the regulated use of simulation for education, training and assessment programs. Providers who think otherwise need to better understand the history of aviation simulation. Terms like the Black Box Flight Recorder and Crew Resource Management (CRM) were not always common household terms and in fact it took about 20 years for the regulated requirement of those systems in aviation to come about. But after learning the Black Box recordings found basic human communication errors to be the root cause of numerous deadly accidents, the commercial aviation industry was eager to change. Using simulation, the entire industry underwent new CRM communications training and ever since has become one of the safest industries in the world. In fact, 2017 was the “Safest Year in Aviation History” with only 10 fatal airliner accidents from 36,800,000 flights around the World.(1)

Contrast that error safety record with health care, which has somewhere between 220,000-440,000 patient deaths attributed to medical error in the United States alone — with 3,000,000 estimated for the entire worl). To be blunt, in the United States, health care is killing hundreds of patients due to error every single day.

While health care has high-fidelity simulation and a CRM training program called TeamSTEPPS to combat this issue, what it doesn’t have yet is the Black Box, the crucial component to provide investigators the facts they need to prove what went wrong. When integrated, exposing error will not focus on the individual, but the systems that failed to provide that individual and their teams with the training necessary to be maintain mastery.

One has only to see the rise and success of body cams on police, dash cams in cars and CCTV security cameras in cities to understand that yes, recording during patient encounters is coming to health care. Soon after, simulation will provide the fix that these recording devices expose in clinical spaces.

Those healthcare institutions that can muster the strength to start such programs now will reap massive benefits when the tipping point comes – and will be championed as pioneers, innovators, and thought leaders on an international scale.