Podcast #341 – Dr. Rob Hackett (@patientsafe3) on #TheatreCapChallenge & Change in Healthcare


My guest for Episode #341 of the podcast is Dr. Rob Hackett, an anaesthesiologist in Sydney, Australia. Rob has become known around the world for his role in what's now called the “Theatre Cap Challenge” — a method for improving communication and, thereby, improving patient safety and outcomes.

As we talk about today, Rob had the idea of writing his name and role on his surgical cap with a sharpie. Eventually, he (and others) have gotten printed caps made as shown below in my LinkedIn post about our discussion (it has received 200,000 views and counting).

In honor of Rob and the Theatre Cap Challenge, I have a temporary logo for the podcast, at left, with my own photoshopped cap.

As I wrote on LinkedIn, Rob has, unfortunately, been trolled, threatened, and bullied for this seemingly benign and obvious improvement idea — both in the workplace and online. It seems that outsiders to healthcare and those who are new to medicine find an idea like this to be obviously helpful, but those who have been in healthcare the longest struggle to accept it.

I appreciate Rob's perspective that those who oppose this innovation, for whatever reason, probably aren't bad people — they just have a different view and, possibly, some old habits or cognitive biases that they are stuck in.

The interview goes for over an hour. One thing I'd like to do is produce a shorter audio piece that's more like an NPR news story. Click here for a full transcript (PDF) and see below and for links, videos, and more. His website is www.psnetwork.org.

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For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/341.

For earlier episodes of my podcast, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS, through Android appsor via Apple Podcasts.  You can also subscribe and listen via Stitcher or Spotify.

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Videos by or with Dr. Rob Hackett

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Wow, great interview. I’ve long suspected there are physicians and mid-level providers out there who feel intimidated about supporting or furthering continuous improvement. None have ever opened up on this level about the topic. I think my next step will be to try much harder to identify and connect with those providers when I’m beginning an improvement project. Thank you, Rob, for putting yourself “out there”.


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