VA study shows communication is main reason for surgical errors

Accreditation Connection, November 30, 2009

The Veterans Administration (VA) recently released an in-house study concluding that poor communication is the principal reason for surgical errors, according to HealthDay's official Web site.

Published in the November issue of the Archives of Surgery, 342 surgical problems from 130 VA hospitals were reviewed from 2001 to 2006, by a group of researchers directed by James P. Bagian, MD, director of the VA National Center for Patient Safety.

Of the 212 adverse events reviewed by the researching team, 21% of the events were poor communication among the surgical team members. In addition, 50.9% of the adverse events occurred in the operating room, while 49.1% occurred elsewhere.

"Good numbers are hard to come by for evaluating medical errors," said Bagian. "But the VA continues to evaluate problems and work toward an even better safety record."

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