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Patient Safety: Surveying Orthopedic Surgeons

Patient Safety: Surveying Orthopedic Surgeons

Throughout the United States, hospitals and health systems are not high-reliability organizations, but are attempting to become high-reliability organizations. Efforts are being made to build on quality and safety advances with a variety of interventions. However, little is known if these actions are helping reduce medical errors and improve outcomes. Patients expect these organizations to adopt a culture of safety, but physicians expect to err, making it critical to create continued awareness of processes that are and are not working. A culture of safety requires being reluctant to accept simple or incomplete explanations for problems, deferring to experts with the most knowledge about specific tasks regardless of hierarchy, and adapting quickly and effectively when making changes. “We know from the aviation and manufacturing industries that work culture can influence the safety of people using these services,” says James H. Herndon, MD, MBA. “Gaining a better understanding about the attitudes of physicians on safety might help improve the hospital safety culture.”   Assessing Opinions For a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Dr. Herndon and colleagues assessed opinions of nearly 400 orthopedic surgeons on their current patient safety culture and about their enthusiasm for different ways to improve safety. The investigators also analyzed their views on the perceived preventability of specific adverse events and factors that orthopedic surgeons saw as being important for improving safety. Participants were given a modified version of the Patient Safety Climate in Healthcare Organizations questionnaire, which measures safety as perceived by hospital personnel. According to the results, the rate of problematic responses—those implying a lack of safety climate—in the modified questionnaire...
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