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Lessons From Flight Crews Can Help Surgical Teams Work Better
Date:10/19/2010

ting room staff avoid future errors, he said.

The briefings can be done quickly, and the study found procedures actually took less time after implementation of the program, Bagian said.

Dr. Peter Pronovost, a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who wrote an accompanying editorial, said the study provides strong evidence that teaching operating room staff about teamwork and effective communication can reduce deaths among surgical patients.

"Medicine has for so long emphasized technical work over team work. We focus on putting tubes in the right places, or tying knots so that wounds don't fall apart," Pronovost said.

"We needed to do that but we have relatively under-invested in teamwork skills," he added. "Poor communication leads to a significant amount of preventable harm, and this study provides a practical way to address some of the teamwork challenges."

More information

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more on medical errors and patient safety.

SOURCES: James Bagian, M.D., P.E., chief patient safety and systems innovation officer, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Peter Pronovost, M.D. Ph.D, professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.; Journal of the American Medical Association, Oct. 20, 2010


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