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What Sea World, Universal Studios And The Zoo Can Teach Health Care Executives

Thousands of health care administrators, policy experts and practitioners will gather in Orlando this week for the 24th annual Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s national forum — akin to a pilgrimmage to Mecca for those passionate about making health care safer and more efficient.

Besides featuring experts such as former CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, the curriculum includes visits to Sea World, Universal Studios and the Central Florida Zoo where participants can learn from the pros about how to make their health systems safer, says Kathy Duncan, a registered nurse and an IHI faculty member.

“My goal is to help health care people take their safety processes to our line of work,” she said.

This will be Duncan’s third year leading the excursion to the zoo. She notes doctors and other health executives can learn about patient safety from watching how the zoo handles dangerous snakes.

At Sea World and Universal Studios, Duncan said attendees will learn about crowd control, which they can use to make their operating and emergency rooms run more smoothly. They will also learn how parks keep people safe on roller coasters. At Universal, attendees will find out how the park protects staff and visitors during movie stunts.

“It’s hard for us health care people to think outside our industry and these excursions give us a chance to do that,” she said.

Berwick, who will give the closing remarks Wednesday, has said some of the inspiration for his work on safety and efficiency came from studying the Japanese auto industry. Disney World has been hosting hospital executives for several years to learn about providing better service.

Duncan said some attendees may be disappointed they won’t be going on rides or watching the shows, but the lessons they’ll learn will be invaluable. “From going behind the scenes on these visits, we can help relate it to keeping patients safe and doing best by our patients.”

And if that’s not enough, the forecast for Orlando on Monday is 82 and sunny.