Safety in the operating theatre—a transition to systems-based care

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All surgeons want the best, safest care for their patients, but providing this requires the complex coordination of multiple disciplines to ensure that all elements of care are timely, appropriate, and well organized. Quality-improvement initiatives are beginning to lead to improvements in the quality of care and coordination amongst teams in the operating room. As the population ages and patients present with more complex disease pathology, the demands for efficient systematization will increase. Although evidence suggests that postoperative mortality rates are declining, there is substantial room for improvement. Multiple quality metrics are used as surrogates for safe care, but surgical teams—including surgeons, anaesthetists, and nurses—must think beyond these simple interventions if they are to effectively communicate and coordinate in the face of increasing demands.

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