Many may recognize part of that phrase as being credited to Austrian Psychologist Viktor.E. Frankl. While it turns out that he may never have said it, the truth in that first sentence is irrefutable. Within that space there is unlimited opportunity for positive changes in our lives.

Operational Human Factors Integration in healthcare embodies the concept of using skills in communication, emotional intelligence, knowledge, and technical skills to reach optimal performance. Human Factors coaching is all about finding the opportunity in our response to stimulus. It’s greatest impact is in moments of great criticality, like surgery.

In the last decade much has been done in the field of brain mapping using fMRI techniques. In addition, the flow of information from implicit and explicit memory sources is uniquely individual. Cognitive response to task loading is also dynamic and unique but can be universally affected by task loading fatigue. Recognizing personal attributes and high task fatigue potential is essential for error reduction and patient care improvement.

Pilots are trained to make the space in which to form a safe response. This is not always easy since the limbic brain (amygdala) is driven to react immediately. Training and practice give the physician and team the chance to avoid reaction based error by replacing reaction with response. The entire team will experience increased integration, motivation, cooperation, reduced errors, and dramatically improved patient outcomes. The opportunities that are created by our choices while we are in that “space” are truly life changing.