Evaluating the effect of distractions in the operating room on clinical decision-making and patient safety

March 23, 2016

Source: Surgical Endoscopy [Epub ahead of print]

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Date of publication: February 2016

Publication type:  Journal article

In a nutshell:  Answering telephone calls and pagers is common distraction in the operating room. This study sought to evaluate the impact of distractions on patient care by (1) assessing the accuracy and safety of responses to clinical questions posed to a surgeon while operating and (2) determining whether pager distractions affect simulation-based surgical performance.

The study found that distractions in the operating room may have a profound impact on patient safety on the wards. While multitasking in a simulated setting, the majority of residents made at least one unsafe clinical decision. Pager distractions also hindered surgical residents’ ability to complete a simulated laparoscopic task in the allotted time without affecting other variables of surgical performance.

Length of publication:  6 pages

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