Sunday, May 25, 2014

Switching to manual mode

When the air traffic controllers' system in southwestern United States went out on April 30, 2014, the operators at the regional center had to switched to a back-up system so they could see the planes on their screens. "Paper slips and telephones were used to relay information about planes to other control centers."

This is a good example for the human operator role in complex systems - improvising and taking control when the technology part of the system fail. This also demonstrate how important it is to maintain the operators' skills to run the system without the technology that support them during normal operation.

This lesson should be learned when we implement new technologies and automation in healthcare.

(image source: