Keynote Address

Terry Fairbanks, MD, MSHuman Factors Opportunities and Challenges
in our Future Healthcare System

Monday, March 25, 2024

Rollin J. “Terry” Fairbanks, MD, MS

Senior Vice President and Chief Quality & Safety Officer, MedStar Health
Executive Director, MedStar Institute for Quality & Safety
Professor of Emergency Medicine, Georgetown University

25 years ago the healthcare industry, government, regulators, and patient advocates started to focus intensely on safety and healthcare. Though progress has been made, there is no debate about the fact that change has been too slow. So much of healthcare safety is impacted by the complexity of the human interfaces, permutations of within and between teams, environments, technology, and unique to healthcare, with the patient. Few healthcare leaders fully understand the depth of this. Dr Fairbanks will highlight opportunities to increase the trajectory of safety improvement in healthcare, reflecting on learnings and observations from his career as a clinician, researcher, consultant, and healthcare delivery system safety leader, through the lens of a human factors safety scientist. Dr. Fairbanks earned a master’s degree in human factors engineering with a safety engineering focus, and later became a physician specializing in emergency medicine. He has dedicated his career to improving healthcare safety by infusing knowledge of system safety engineering and human factors principles into healthcare. Dr. Fairbanks is an HFES Fellow and a Fellow in the American College of Emergency Physicians. He founded the National Center for Human factors in Healthcare at MedStar Health, a 10-hospital healthcare system in the Baltimore-Washington DC region, where he currently serves as the health system's senior vice president and chief quality and safety officer.

Rollin J. “Terry” Fairbanks MD, MS, is senior vice president and chief quality & safety officer at MedStar Health, a 10-hospital system in the Washington DC/Baltimore Maryland region, executive director of the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety, and professor of emergency medicine at Georgetown University. In 2010 Dr. Fairbanks founded MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, now one of the largest embedded healthcare human factors centers in the world. Dr. Fairbanks has authored more than 200 publications and edited a book on healthcare safety and human factors engineering, and mentored dozens in these fields. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Office of the National Coordinator in Health IT, several foundations. He has served in safety advisory roles for several national organizations and for the United States, British, Spanish, and Australian governments, and listed in Becker’s Review as a leading expert in the field of patient safety. He is proud to have been awarded the Robert L. Wears Patient Safety Leadership Award in 2021, named for his late mentor.

Dr. Fairbanks holds a bachelors degree in mathematics and physics from Potsdam College, master’s degree in human factors engineering/safety track from the Virginia Tech Grado Department of Industrial Systems Engineering, medical degree from VCU’s Medical College of Virginia, and emergency medicine residency training from the University of Rochester. He completed the NPSF/AHA Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship and the Wharton School’s physician leadership certificate, and is a Fellow in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and the American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Fairbanks is a former paramedic, EMS medical director, and general aviation pilot. He practices as an emergency medicine attending physician at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center.