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Video Cameras Used During Surgery Could Improve Patient Safety

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Experts are urging doctors to consider technology to improve patient safety: video recording their operations. Turns out that having big brother looking over your soldier (in this case, the video camera) drastically improved doctors' performance during surgery. In fact, in a new article detailing the experiment, the mean inspection time improved 49% and the quality of inspection improved 31%.

In the recent study, researchers looked at 98 colonoscopy procedures performed by seven gastroenterologists. At first, they were unaware that they were being filmed and the researchers found wide variations in quality. After learning that they were being video taped, they greatly improved. This is similar to another example of the power of big brother, say the researchers; Long Island's North Shore Hospital starting video recording hand washing practices of medical personnel and found that compliance increased from 6.1% to 81.6%.

However, there are some dangers related to video recording surgical procedures. For one, patient privacy must be guarded. Some hospitals and doctors have also expressed concern that video recordings would be used against them to bring more medical malpractice suits. Nevertheless, Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and author of a bestselling book on patient safety, says that there were similar concerns when patients received access to MRIs and CT scans and there has been no evidence that either has increased malpractice suits.