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Equipment, Technology Contribute to Errors in the OR

Systematic review shows equipment, technology failures account for about one-fifth of total errors

FRIDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Equipment-related failures account for a substantial proportion of errors occurring in the operating room (OR), and checklists may reduce these errors, according to a review published online July 25 in BMJ Quality & Safety.

Ruwan A. Weerakkody, M.B., B.Chir., of Imperial College London, and colleagues performed a systematic review of the published literature to assess equipment-related errors in the OR. They noted 19,362 citations related to errors and adverse events; 124 quantitative error studies were reviewed and 28 of these studies were included in the analysis.

The researchers found that a median of 15.5 errors in total occurred per procedure. Failures related to equipment or technology, such as equipment availability, configurations and settings, and direct malfunctioning, caused a median of 19.3 percent of the total errors. Error rates varied widely and tended to be higher for procedures involving more equipment. Checklists or similar interventions reduced equipment error by about 48.6.

"There may be great scope to improve the results of procedures over and above that already achieved from the introduction of new technologies by paying due attention to potential errors related to equipment," the authors write.

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