The third keynote address will feature Sidney Dekker, PhD, MA, MSc, an internationally known author and expert in human error and safety. He is currently a professor at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia where he is director of the Safety Science Innovation Lab. He previously was professor of human factors and system safety at Lund University in Sweden. While in Sweden, he learned to fly the Boeing 737, and he worked part-time as an airline pilot in Copenhagen. Dr. Dekker is world renowned for his groundbreaking work in safety issues, and he is the best-selling author of several books on patient safety and the culture that surrounds it, including his latest book, Safety Differently, published in 2014.
Dr. Dekker’s address to the Annual Meeting, entitled “Human Error and Just Culture” will focus on many current safety topics and questions, including: “How can people make such obvious errors,” and “Can we solve our safety problems by telling people to be more careful, by reprimanding the miscreants, by issuing a new rule or procedure?” According to Dr. Dekker, these are all expressions of the “Bad Apple Theory”, in which the system itself is seen as safe, except for a few unreliable people within it.
Dr. Dekker will present a more modern perspective on the “human error” problem—emphasizing that human behaviors reflect the environment, tools and tasks that surround workers. Further, people are by nature uncomfortable raising safety concerns, especially if they feel they or a colleague will receive blame. By changing the way that “human error” is perceived, it is possible to promote safety mindfulness and develop a culture of safety within radiation oncology, thereby making it easier for people to improve their environment and report safety concerns.
Our rapidly-changing field is facing challenges in the area of patient safety. Dr. Dekker’s presentation to ASTRO will provide us with insights to help us address our safety challenges. Dr. Dekker’s perspective and expertise in this area are uniquely well-suited for us, and we are most lucky to have him as a Keynote Speaker.
Join us on Wednesday, September 17 at 9:15 a.m. in the Esplanade Ballroom for this insightful presentation. There will be time at the end of Dr. Dekker’s address for questions. More information on the 2014 Annual Meeting is available here.