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Making the Operating Room of the Future Safer

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There is an increasing demand for interventions to improve patient safety, but there is limited data to guide such reform. In particular, because much of the existing research is outcome-driven, we have a limited understanding of the factors and process variations that influence safety in the operating room. In this article, we start with an overview of safety terminology, suggesting a model that emphasizes “safety” rather than “error” and that can encompass the spectrum of events occurring in the operating room. Next, we provide an introduction to techniques that can be used to understand safety at the point of care and we review the data that exists relating such studies to improved outcomes. Future work in this area will need to prospectively study the processes and factors that impact patient safety and vulnerability in the operating room.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; 2: Roth Cognitive Engineering, Brookline, Massachusetts; 3: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts; 4: Center for Clinical Excellence, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; and 5: the Department of Health Care Quality, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Clinical Decision Making Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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