Archived Webinars

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Medical Errors – Cause and Prevention


On February 15, 2011, at 2 p.m. EST, The TASA Group, Inc., in conjunction with Human Factors experts Will Nelson and Mark Heidebrecht, presented a free, one hour, interactive webinar, Medical Errors – Cause and Prevention, for all legal professionals.

The medical profession touches just about everyone’s life at one time or another. This $2.5 trillion industry includes almost 600,000 establishments that vary in size, staffing patterns and organizational structure. For example, although hospitals constitute only 1% of the establishments, they employ 35% of the workers. Consequently, the healthcare industry has a wide range of stakeholders, including the patient, medical services provider, hospitals, insurance companies, third party administrators, governments, equipment manufacturers, drug manufacturers, pharmacies, pharmacists, and certifying boards, to name some of those involved.

Reports indicate that in 2008 there were over 6.3 million measureable medical injuries; 1.5 million of those were associated with medical error. This resulted in $19.5 billion in extra costs to the healthcare system.

While other industries long ago recognized the need to develop a comprehensive approach to identifying and preventing future errors by targeting the root cause, the complexity of the medical industry has made it more difficult to implement uniform procedures. In addition, as technology has advanced, the quality control and patient safety processes have not always kept up with the increasingly complex nature of today’s healthcare system.

During this program, our presenters covered the following:

  • What Medical Error is and why it is important to you
  • Role of the Human Factors expert in Medical Errors
  • Two main types of Medical Errors
  • The components of a Patient Care Team
  • 5 key principles of an effective Patient Care Team
  • The 3 major outcomes of an effective Patient Care Team
  • The use of an evidence-based framework to optimize team performance
  • Why the use of closed-loop communication protocols is important
  • What can be learned from other industries
  • Barriers to an effective Patient Care Team
  • The Two-Challenge Rule and why it is important
  • The Patient's role in reducing Medical Errors

About the Experts

William Nelson has over 30 years of experience in ergonomics, biomechanics, and human factors principles. Mr. Nelson’s expertise and areas of specialization include product liability, personal injury, premises liability, and accident reconstruction. He has been directly involved with the commercialization of emerging technologies such as holography, lasers, acoustic reflectometry, and electronics. Of special interest to Mr. Nelson are the unintended consequences from the use of emerging technologies in today’s multicultural society. Of particular interest is the emerging research in the areas of driver distraction, sports injuries, and medical errors, and how to help prevent injuries. Mr. Nelson has been a presenter at national and international conferences. He has over 18 years of litigation support experience as an expert witness throughout the U.S. in municipal, state and federal court, as well as experience with the Daubert hearing process.

Mr. Heidebrecht has 20 years of experience in the research and application of ergonomics, biomechanics, physiology, and human factors principles. As a board-certified ergonomics/human factors professional, Mr. Heidebrecht includes the following in his areas of specialization: product liability, personal injury, premises liability, and accident reconstruction. Areas of special interest include injury causation, driver distraction, helmets & concussions, and medical errors. Mr. Heidebrecht developed and teaches a preparation course for professionals pursuing certification in human factors and ergonomics. He has testified as an expert before OSHA regarding the proposed Ergonomic Standard and was asked to present to the National Academy of Sciences regarding the effectiveness of ergonomic interventions and the early identification of musculoskeletal disorders. Mr. Heidebrecht has been involved in product development and commercialization of medical products using emerging technologies. He has also presented to and consulted with numerous corporate clients, governments, and educational and medical institutions throughout the U.S. He has given litigation support as an expert witness throughout the U.S. in municipal, state and federal court, as well as with the Daubert hearing process.

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