When used in a military context, the term front line refers to the interface between enemies in action on the battlefield. In a non-military context, the front line is the site where the core activity defining a particular industry takes place, and those working there are key to successful operations. In healthcare, the need to improve patient safety has become a global imperative, and an armamentarium of strategies, tools and technological approaches have been adapted or developed for this context. Often neglected, however, have been strategies to engage the healthcare workers, those at the front line, in the cause.
In order for healthcare to function error free, we must assume the characteristics of high-reliability organizations. In particular, the ability to bounce back, to be resilient in the face of a catastrophe, is of paramount importance. Those working at the front line may have the answers. We need to create an opportunity for them to be heard.
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