The Law Offices of John Phebus

Studies show how to improve patient safety

A series of studies conducted by Oxford University may have answered the question of how to maximize patient safety during surgery. One school of thought believes that hospital staff working together made patients safer. Another believes that improved technology and operating technique would keep patients safer. However, after five studies conducted by the Quality, Reliability, Safety and Teamwork Unit, it is believed that a combination of the two may work best in hospitals in Arizona and around the country.

In other words, improved technique and increased teamwork during surgery leads to increased patient safety. The group found that those who worked well in a team setting were more motivated and more aware of safety risks. However, their training didn't help them change their workplace habits. Those who received help to improve how they went about performing a procedure got better at their jobs but were less motivated to focus on patient safety.

Based on their research, the team published two papers that were both published in the journal Annals of Surgery. One of the authors of the second paper commented that frontline staff do not have the time or resources to do their jobs well and address patient safety issues without help from others. Therefore health care organizations may need to combine the work of this staff with the knowledge that experts from the human factors and quality improvement fields may offer.

A patient who has been by a surgical error will often have to incur significant additional medical expenses to correct the mistakes. In such an event, it may be advisable to speak with a medical malpractice attorney to determine whether filing a lawsuit seeking compensation from the negligent practitioner and facility would be appropriate.

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