Operating Room Black Box Undergoing Tests
Sep 19, 2014
Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) September 19, 2014 – As an innovation, operating room black boxes could help victims find out how adverse hospital errors, also called never events, happened. Moreover, the data the boxes gather could inform training to prevent never events from recurring.
“Most Americans are familiar with what a black box does. These devices record the final events prior to an incident of some kind. Big rigs use them, as do airplanes and trains. A black box in the operating room could spot and take action on surgical mistakes. The theory is being tested right now in a Canadian hospital,” explained Michael Smith, an Arkansas hospital error attorney.
The compact machine is in use for pilot projects internationally, including a study in Denmark.
Black boxes, currently only in use for laparoscopic surgeries, are not large — about the size of a weighty book. But they miss nothing, capturing OR staff chatter, the level of ambient sound in the room and the temperature.
A box should be able to tell an operating team where any mistakes were made, providing an opportunity to understand what went wrong and what, if anything, can be done to rectify the errors.
“Ross Baker, a leading educator at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, wrote an eye-opening paper recently. According to his research, about 7.5 percent of Canadian patients admitted to acute care facilities were the victims of adverse events, ranging from infections to surgical errors.” said Smith. “Baker’s study also stated that almost 37 percent of reported adverse events were preventable.”
With an OR black box taking note of everything happening during an operation, future surgeons may learn how to avoid the mistakes of today and improve medical treatment for everyone in their care.
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