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1.  Introducing standardized “readbacks” to improve patient safety in surgery: a prospective survey in 92 providers at a public safety-net hospital 
BMC Surgery  2012;12:8.
Communication breakdowns represent the main root cause of preventable complications which lead to harm to surgical patients. Standardized readbacks have been successfully implemented as a main pillar of professional aviation safety for decades, to ensure a safe closed-loop communication between air traffic control and individual pilots. The present study was designed to determine the perception of staff in perioperative services regarding the role of standardized readbacks for improving patient safety in surgery at a single public safety-net hospital and level 1 trauma center.
A 12-item questionnaire was sent to 180 providers in perioperative services at Denver Health Medical Center. The survey was designed to determine the individual participants’ perception of (1) appropriateness of current readback processes; (2) willingness to attend a future training module on this topic; (3) specific scenarios in which readbacks may be effective; and (4) perceived major barriers to the implementation of standardized readbacks. Survey results were compared between departments (surgery versus anesthesia) and between specific staff roles (attending or midlevel provider, resident physician, nursing staff), using non-parametric tests.
The response rate to the survey was 50.1 % (n = 92). Respondents overwhelmingly recognized the role of readbacks in reducing communication errors and improving patient safety. There was a strong agreement among respondents to support participation in a readbacks training program. There was no difference in the responses between the surgery and anesthesia departments.
There was a statistically significant difference in the healthcare providers willingness to attend a short training module on readbacks (p < 0.001). Resident physicians were less likely to endorse the importance of readbacks in reducing communication errors (p = 0.01) and less willing to attend a short training module on readbacks (p < 0.001), as compared to staff providers and nursing staff.
The main challenge for respondents, which emanated from their responses, appeared to relate to determining the ideal scenarios in which readbacks may be most appropriately used. Overall, respondents strongly felt that readbacks had an important role in patient handoffs, patient orders regarding critical results, counting and verifying surgical instruments, and delegating multiple perioperative tasks.
The majority of all respondents appear to perceive standardized readbacks as an effective tool for reducing and/or preventing adverse events in the care of surgical patients, derived from a breakdown in communication among perioperative caregivers. Further work needs to be done to define the exact clinical scenarios in which readbacks may be most efficiently implemented, including the definition of a uniform set of scripted quotes and phrases, which should likely be standardized in concert with the aviation safety model.
PMCID: PMC3418160  PMID: 22713158
2.  An iterative process of global quality improvement: the International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anesthesia 2010 
Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia  2010;57(11):1021-1026.
To enhance patient safety through contemporaneous and comprehensive standards for a safe practice of anesthesia that augment, enhance, and support similar standards already published by various countries and that provide a resource for countries that have yet to formulate such standards.
Standards development
The Safe Anesthesia Working Group of the World Health Organization’s “Safe Surgery Saves Lives” global initiative updated the 1992 International Standards for the Safe Practice of Anaesthesia (Standards) through an iterative process of literature review, consultation, debate, drafting, and refinement. These Standards address, in detail, the organization, support, practices, and infrastructure for anesthesia care. The Standards are grounded in the fundamental principle of safety in anesthesia, i.e., the continuous presence of an appropriately trained, vigilant anesthesia professional. In effect, the use of pulse oximetry during anesthesia is now considered mandatory, with acknowledgement that compromise may be unavoidable in emergencies. At the World Congress of Anaesthesiologists in 2008, drafts were presented for comment, further refinements were made, and the Revised Standards were adopted by the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA). These Revised Standards were posted on the WFSA website for further feedback, and minor revisions followed. The International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anesthesia 2010 were endorsed by the Executive Committee of the WFSA in March 2010. Ongoing periodic revision is planned.
While they are universally applicable, the 2010 Standards primarily target lesser-resourced areas. They are designed particularly for regions that have yet to formulate or adopt their own standards so as to promote optimum patient outcomes in every anesthetizing location in the world.
PMCID: PMC2957571  PMID: 20857255

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