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Could Video Cameras in the OR Prevent Wrong-Site Surgery?

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 14, 2011

Additionally, hospital nurses conduct random audits of surgical procedures to make sure that the surgeons are conducting appropriately scripted time-outs.

"Every (surgeon) knows the potential that they could be on video, but we don't notify them ahead of time," said Mary Reich Cooper, MD, senior vice president and chief quality officer for Lifespan Corp., which includes Rhode Island Hospital.

However, Cooper does not suggest that hospitals rush out to install these systems anytime soon. And neither do I.

"Our staff have been very comfortable with the video cameras being in place, but we would not encourage them to be used like they are in casinos, like they are an eye in the sky and an extra set of eyes all the time," she says.

Rather, she explains, "We rely on the staff for policing, correcting, and auditing themselves to make sure that everyone in the room is complying with the scripts that we have written for the staff to use during the time out process," Cooper says.

Mike Sise, MD, vascular surgeon and head of trauma at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, says that videography for training and quality purposes used to be routine for Mercy's resuscitations until the late 1990s, when staff realized they might be putting patient privacy at risk. Trauma settings have done it for training and quality control purposes for decades.

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