The 2014 JSMF Symposium on Cognitive Complexity and Error in Critical Care will focus on the theme “Translating Cognitive Insights into Practice” and will be held at the New York Academy of Medicine, NY. This year marks the culmination of our research and will serve two purposes: first, as a venue for a discussion on translating some of the results in clinical practice; and second, to identify key themes for future grants and research.

The 2013 JSMF Symposium on Cognitive Complexity and Errors in Critical Care was the final formal meeting of the C2EC2 Collaboratory. It represented the last phase of a journey, marked by theoretical and methodological advances, as well as empirical discoveries.  In our first symposium, we discussed emerging theoretical models and methodological approaches as they pertain to the study of error and complexity in critical care. In the second symposium, we focused on recent empirical findings, progress in theory development and evaluation of methods, and discussed possibilities for empirically based interventions and further refinement of our approaches. At the third symposium, we evaluated our findings in regards to our initial aims in terms of: a) what expected and surprising findings were obtained; b) which of the methodological approaches were most likely to bear fruit; c) what theoretical models were most likely to emerge and mature; d) what interventions were significant scientifically and clinically, and e) where our attention would be best spent for the rest of the project period. This symposium enabled us to reflect on our progress, make mid-course corrections and chart the road ahead.

At the fourth symposium held last year, the theme of was on empirical and theoretically-grounded interventions for safe critical care practice, where the emphasis was on our recent efforts to improve patient safety in critical care through interventions.

The 2013 year’s symposium marked the conclusion of a major part of our project. As we progress towards the end of our collaborative enterprise, our focus is on drawing out a set of integrative themes that run through our collective work on cognitive complexity and error in critical care practice. These integrative themes, derived from a number of projects across the multi-site Collaboratory provide a metaphorical bridge to understand, identify, characterize, manage and predict the effects of complexity in a critical care environment. Hence, the key presentations and panel discussions at this year’s symposium will center on the theme: “Crossing the Complexity Chasm: Insights from the C2EC2 Collaboratory.”

The objectives of the 2013 symposium were:

  • To synthesize our collective contribution to characterize the influence of complexity on the safety of critical care practice
  • To report on adaptive responses to cognition and error in critical care
  • To present the synthesis of studies on the effects of imposing order in complex environments
  • To describe the methodological challenges that we faced, and new approaches we developed that contribute to our understanding of complexity and error
  • To integrate insights that emerged from the various strands of research conducted within our Collaboratory
  • To reflect on the state of knowledge as it pertains to complexity, cognition and patient safety
  • To chart activities that will bring closure, and to plan future research endeavors