Can tracking a PA surgeon’s moves reduce surgical errors?

Pilots on airplanes have a “black box” that records their movements while flying. Researchers in Canada are now studying a “black box” for surgeons that may help cut down on surgical errors. Thousands of patients die from medical errors each year in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, so anything that can help cut down on the number of mistakes can be a welcome addition.

The recording device that is being studied in Canada is located inside the operating room. It has a camera that records every movement with a computer outside the operating room that analyzes the movements and lets the surgeon know if they made a mistake. These devices are currently being used to analyze bariatric surgeries.

Since each surgery is unique it is not known yet whether these devices will help cut down on surgical errors. In many surgeries there isn’t a checklist for what to do which may be hard to analyze with the surgical box. Regardless anything that can help cut down on surgical errors that lead to serious injury or death is welcome in the medical field. There have been some hospitals in the U.S. that have expressed interest in obtaining a surgical errors recording device.

Surgical errors can cause a worsened condition for patients or even death. These unexpected side effects of the surgery can cause grief to patients and their families, as well as more medical bills and lost working time. Medical professionals have the obligation to make sure they are not making mistakes during surgery and putting the patient at an additional risk.

Source: The Inquirer, “Surgical black boxes may not fly in Philadelphia,” Tracy Romero, Sept. 12, 2014