Technology to blame for 1 in 4 operating room errors, study finds

WASHINGTON – High technology has made many types of surgery more precise and effective — and in some cases, far less invasive.

But all this innovation also has created some problems.

Researchers say technology now accounts for about one in four operating room errors.

They say more complex surgeries that rely more heavily on high tech tend to have higher equipment error rates.

The research team reviewed data from 124 error studies and focused on 28 of them.

The researchers categorized equipment problems into three groups. The availability of equipment accounted for 37 percent of the errors, while problems with configuration and settings were responsible for 44 percent. Direct malfunctioning occurred in 33 percent.

They say more rigorous pre-op equipment checks could reduce the error rate by 48 percent, and should become routine practice for all surgical teams.

The findings are reported in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety.

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