In 1999, the Institute of Medicine released a landmark report outlining the prevalence of adverse events in all medical specialties, titled “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System.” The report became a cornerstone of a renewed focus on improving quality of patient care, and was a precursor to today’s outcomes-driven business model.
Among the many causes attributed to adverse events, the report indicated that failure of communication was an issue, albeit a minor one compared to some of the technical and clinical errors mentioned.
At the recent PostGraduate Assembly in Anesthesia (PGA), a group of anesthesiologists suggested that factors such as poor communication, flawed decision-making, and lack of teamwork are more responsible for medical errors than clinical or technical mistakes.
The recommendations for change are somewhat obvious – developing a cohesive environment where all members of the OR team are focused and working towards the same goal. In a recent Somnia Anesthesia white paper, Creating a Perioperative Partnership for Operating Room Managers, the development of a perioperative partnership between OR managers and anesthesia leadership is examined in-depth. Besides the changes in communication and teamwork, the partnership also allows for drastic improvement in productivity and quality, areas of chiefs concern to hospital executives.
“The critical role and importance of a transparent and accountable anesthesia partnership throughout the entire perioperative continuum cannot be underestimated,” said Hugh Morgan, Somnia’s vice president of quality management. “This effective perioperative partnership between OR nursing and anesthesia is absolutely vital to the operational, clinical, and financial success in creating and sustaining an exceptionally performing operating room.”