The operational military concept known as “left of bang” endorses continuous situational awareness to avoid harm proactively—before it occurs. Healthcare, however, operates reactively in response to patient harm, often intervening once a patient safety event has occurred, versus using practices and tools to recognize and respond to threats.
Applied to patient safety, a left-of-bang approach teaches frontline clinicians to increase sensitivity to and stay in constant vigilance for threats before they happen, moving down a scale of situational awareness levels:
White: Tending to the tasks at hand but largely unprepared for disruption and unaware of the conditions around them.
Yellow: Constantly understanding the safety vulnerabilities of day-to-day healthcare.
Orange: Ready to use the needed skills and tools to react to an event.
Red: Taking action and laser focused on the issue at hand.