According to a statement by the American Heart Association (AHA), hospitals can prevent medical errors during cardiac surgeries by training operating room staff on how to communicate with one another and work together as a team.
Communication failures are the most common cause of problems in hospitals and are oftentimes the root cause of medical errors, according to research that was published in AHA’s journal, Circulation.
These five strategies can ultimately strengthen communication and teamwork:
- Use checklists and conduct postoperative debriefings during cardiac surgeries;
- Train all members of the cardiac operative team on communication, leadership and situational awareness;
- Set up formal handoff protocols during transfer of the care of cardiac surgical patients to new medical personnel;
- Hold scenario training for significant and rare nonroutine events (i.e., emergency oxygenator change out); and
- Conduct studies of teamwork and communication that consider optimal communication models, team-training models, impediments to implementation of formal training in teamwork and communication skills, long-term studies of the sustained impact of such training on provider outcomes, efficacy of formal training in teamwork and communication skills in improving patient outcomes, and set up an anonymous national multidisciplinary event-reporting system to obtain data about events.