Thursday, June 13, 2013


What is RESILIENCE and how is it related to medical research?

Today MHRI and the UIDP (see prior UIDP post to learn about the UIDP) hosted a 'Resilience in Healthcare' workshop conference at the National Academies (home of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences and other prestigious organizations):

This conference attracted about 100 leaders from institutions from around the nation (and several from overseas) that seek to apply resilience engineering to healthcare. 

Resilience is defined by Webster as 'the physical property of a material that can return to its original shape or position after deformation.' In healthcare, we are interested in how the concept can be applied to improve patient safety. If we accept the premise that unexpected events are inevitable, we need systems and processes that bring extra adaptive capacity to bear in the face of these potential surprises so patient still have good outcomes. Many other fields use this approach with great success - just think of things that you count on to work everytime (electricity) or areas that safety must prevail despite a myriad of different conditions (air travel).  There is great potential applying this approach to healthcare and the process of testing it is a form of medical research.  This type of research, the research on the delivery of care, is an example of health services research  (see prior post on  Health Services Research).

You will be proud to know that MedStar had a prominent role throughout the conference. Our own Terry Fairbanks did a great job as the course director, Paul Plsek as moderator, and presentations by Ed Tori and Seth Krevat.  The MWHC CME office also did a fabulous job organizing the event.

As I walked out this evening, in the words of Mark Smith, Director of MedStar Institute of Innovation, 'This was a great conference!'  Congratulations to all!

In the atrium of the Keck Building at the National Academies,
the workshop participants took part in a 'World Cafe' moving
from table to table for small group discussions.

1 comment:

  1. you can follow the conference today on Twitter at