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What Healthcare Teams Can Learn From NASCAR Pit Crews

By Brandon Means

Even if you aren’t a diehard NASCAR fan, you’ve likely still heard the same champion names over and over. But it might surprise even dedicated fans to learn that all of the cars on the track are limited to the same top speed Pulsara care coordination nascar pit stopand horsepower range. With this being the case, how can it be that there is such a large disparity between first and last place? The answer is that the race is won and lost during the pit stop!

During the longer races, drivers will make up to a dozen pit stops. Instead of victory being about having the fastest speed down the stretch, it’s more about identifying bottlenecks and delays while eliminating mistakes.

Picture this: As the driver pulls off the track for a pit stop, a team of six crew members is standing by with air guns, fuel nozzles, and fresh tires. Each member is in constant communication with each other and the driver via a special radio frequency. In as little as 12 seconds, the car has fresh tires, a clean windshield, and more fuel. As the last lug nut is tightened, the all-clear call is made, and it's “off to the races.”

Just like a professional pit crew, where each member has a specific, defined role yet must work toward a common goal with their team, all while remaining in constant communication, the healthcare team must function together as a well-oiled machine when lives are on the line. There are no individual awards or medals. The team succeeds, and fails, as one.

Whereas a single mistake during a pit stop can put a car behind by a lap or two, the stakes are much higher in healthcare. A small miscue in activating a STEMI, stroke, trauma, or sepsis team can cost the patient precious time and tissue. During these times of “controlled chaos,” transparency is key. The ability to see what’s been done, who did it, and what the team has left to do helps teams avoid repeating, and more importantly, missing steps.

As care providers, we must always be searching for ways to better serve our patients, an ambition that begins with SIMPLIFYING care coordination to unite our teams and empower people to better health. It's About People. 

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