In 1999, the US Institute of Medicine released a report To err is human: Building a safer health system, which estimates that 44,000 and 98,000 patients die as a result of medical errors in the operating room (OR) annually. Despite dramatic improvements in surgical safety knowledge, at least half of the adverse events occur during surgical care. Human failures (for example, miscommunication, teamwork breakdown, leadership and poor decision making) are not uncommon and often lead to errors in surgery. Retained sponges, wrong site surgery, mismatched organ transplants, or blood transfusion can be the result of human errors resulting in many adverse incidents and accidents. Analysis of adverse events in health care suggests that improvement of non-technical skills may reduce surgical errors and enhance patient outcomes. The term 'non-technical skills' refers to "the cognitive, social and personal resource skills that complement technical skills, and contribute to safe and efficient task performance". Subsumed within non-technical skills are the domains of communication, leadership, teamwork, decision making and situation awareness.
ACORN: the official journal of perioperative nursing in Australia / Vol. 27, No. 4, pp.16-25