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Do video cameras make for safer surgeries?

| Aug 12, 2016 | Medical Malpractice |

What happens in a hospital’s operating rooms matters greatly. Surgeries are incredibly complex things, in which the smallest mistakes by medical professionals can end up having serious repercussions for patients. Thus, it is vital for hospitals to take appropriate steps to ensure that the staff in their operating rooms stick to safe practices during surgical procedures.

Might cameras be able to help with keeping operating rooms safe? Cameras in operating rooms certainly aren’t a new thing. However, such devices being used for operating room patient safety improvement purposes is a relatively new phenomenon.

An example of such use of cameras can be seen in a system a hospital in New York has in place. Under the system, video cameras that are present in all of the hospital’s operating rooms send their footage to a company. The company regularly reviews the footage and analyzes it for potential patient safety issues. The footage is typically deleted 24 hours after being received.

The company uses the data it gets from the reviews of the camera footage to provide real-time updates to hospital staff on what’s happening in an operating room, potential safety issues and the safety performance of surgical teams.

The hospital has had this system in place since 2013. Research has pointed to there being improvements when it comes to the hospital’s operating rooms since the system’s introduction, including patient wait-time improvements and safety guideline adherence improvements.

Do you think operating room video footage review systems like this will become commonplace in hospitals in the future, including here in Louisiana?

If such systems do become a fixture in hospitals, one not only wonders what effects it will have on patient safety, but also what effects it will have on medical malpractice cases. Among the things that can impact such cases is what kinds of evidence are available. Now, because systems like the one mentioned above regularly delete video footage, they seem unlikely to produce major new sources of video evidence. However, such systems may present a new source of evidence in the data derived from the footage reviews.

The potential for unique and complex evidence issues to arise in medical malpractice cases is among the reasons why having a skilled medical malpractice attorney’s guidance can be critical for patients who are pursuing medical malpractice lawsuits.