The Secret to Safer Surgery

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Capturing real-time data during procedures leads to enhanced patient care.


CONTINUING EDUCATION CONTINUING EDUCATION Dr. Grantcharov believes surgical professionals benefit from advanced analytics and quality coaching.

The operating room needs to be a more transparent workspace, according to Teodor Grantcharov, MD, PhD, FACS, a staff surgeon at St. Michael's Hospital and a professor of surgery at the University of Toronto. At Virtual OR Excellence, Dr. Grantcharov told attendees about the OR Black Box, which records data, audio and video of what happens during surgeries. The information is then analyzed to refine the performance of surgical teams and improve patient safety.

Dr. Grantcharov shared a wealth of information and findings from his OR Black Box project, which is currently deployed in select facilities. He called it disruptive technology that is changing the performance of perioperative teams for the better. "There is always something to improve, always something that could and should be done better," he said. "We can now acquire the data that makes change much easier."

During his talk, Dr. Grantcharov compared OR staff to professional athletes, who train and improve because of data-driven performance analysis and coaching. "The question is, why haven't we done that in our clinical environment?" he asked. "We've turned the OR into one of the most secretive environments in modern society. Whatever happens there, stays there."

A perioperative staff's perception of its actual performance is often skewed, according to Dr. Grantcharov. "We often believe we did better than we actually did," he said. "These cultural barriers need to be broken so we can allow modern data science to help us improve quality, safety and efficiency in the operating room. We aren't yet capitalizing on the power of performance analysis, constructive feedback and high-quality coaching."

As COVID-19 continues to hasten the ongoing shift in perioperative services from reactive to proactive safety, it's imperative for surgical facilities to mitigate risks and identify concerning trends. Dr. Grantcharov believes turning data into useful information that OR staff can understand will better address conditions that could result in adverse events before they happen.

There's still time to register for Virtual OR Excellence, which runs through Nov. 20 and is free to Outpatient Surgery subscribers and AORN members. Sign up here for access to the conference's online learning and networking opportunities.

Joe Paone

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