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Checking in with other physicians may help reduce surgical errors

Medical professionals and patients alike have a vested interest in keeping hospitals as safe as possible. A recent study has given Delaware physicians and hospital staff a new reason to communicate properly in hopes of avoiding surgical errors.  A recent study showed that systematic crosschecking between physicians can significantly reduce the incidence of adverse events in emergency rooms.

Emergency departments are often some of the most fast-paced and busy parts of a hospital. This can lead to an increase of medical malpractice concerns and surgical errors, with the rate of errors in emergency departments reportedly reaching up to 10 percent. A recent student sought to understand whether enforcing a defined system of communication and confirmation between two emergency departments would reduce these errors.

The system, known as crosschecking, was tested using a cluster randomized crossover trial. The result was that systematic crosschecking decreased the occurrence of adverse events by 4.3 percent. This reduction was mainly in what researchers referred to as near misses rather than a reduction of preventable serious events. The study included 1680 patients, 8.6 percent of whom had an adverse event. 54 of the patients in the cross-checking group had such events compared to 90 of those who were not.

The crosschecking process is new, but would be easy to implement for many Delaware emergency rooms. Informal or spontaneous crosschecking can occur naturally within emergency rooms, but a more systematic approach may help to minimize avoidable mistakes. Those who have been the victim of surgical errors in Delaware should contact a lawyer who focuses his or her practice on personal injury and medical malpractice claims.

Source:, "Systematic crosschecking between emergency physicians may decrease adverse events", Shayna Bejaimal, MD, April 26, 2018

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