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Communications training, surgical checklist can reduce costly postoperative complications
Date:12/5/2012

Chicago (December 5, 2012): As the nation grapples with surging health care costs, researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, and Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford, have confirmed two simple cost-effective methods to reduce expensive postoperative complicationscommunications team training and a surgical checklist. Investigators found that when surgical teams completed communications training and a surgical procedure checklist before, during, and after high-risk operations, patients experienced fewer adverse events such as infections and blood clots. The study is published in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Surgical teams come together for one common goalto treat patients using surgical proceduresbut occasionally unforeseen circumstances can occur during the process. Sometimes surgical equipment isn't on hand, or the patient requires more blood than expected, which delays the procedure and requires dispensing more anesthesia while a team member hurries to get needed supplies. Also, surgical team members may have inconsistent information about priorities for the procedure, explained Lindsay Bliss, MD, lead study author and general surgery resident at the University of Connecticut. As many as five to 20 clinicians can be involved in a single operation, depending on its length and complexity. In a larger hospital, some team members may meet for the first time during the procedure. "Everyone brings to the team a different aspect of patient care that they think is the most important," Dr. Bliss said. "But the team has to understand all aspects of patient care and agree on what's important."

Although surgical checklists have existed for a while, they are not universally used. For the University of Connecticut study, Dr. Bliss's colleagues compared three groups of surgical procedures to determine whether communications training coupled with a standardi
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
American College of Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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