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Study pins one quarter of surgical errors on technology

Technology is often used in the health care field to improve the processes and procedures that treat illness and injury. If health care professionals use the technology correctly, there may still be times when the equipment malfunctions in such a way that the patient in Pennsylvania is harmed. Responsibility for an error by a piece of equipment may lie with the doctor or the hospital, and a recent study attempted to find the reason behind most surgical errors and determine ways to stop them from happening.

According to a study recently published in the BMJ Quality & Safety, including equipment checks on the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist along with implementing other safety procedures can lower surgical errors by half. The study also found that 25% of surgical errors are due to malfunctioning equipment and technology problems.

Equipment failure included situations where the surgical device malfunctioned, equipment settings and configuration were off and when necessary equipment was unavailable. Surgeries that more heavily rely on technology also had higher rates of mistakes during the procedure. The researchers claim a small checklist can help to greatly reduce the occurrence of surgical mistakes.

Technology is becoming more important in the health care field and particularly in surgery. More surgical equipment may lead to more mistakes by doctors and nurses and it may be necessary to implement new procedures to account for this increased reliance. Researchers have found that up to 15 errors may occur during any surgery, often resulting in serious harm or even death to the patient.

Source: Huffington Post, “Technology problems behind 1 in 4 surgery errors, study finds,” Bahar Gholipour, July 26, 2013

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