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Communication failure
Why communication fails in the operating room
  1. J Firth-Cozens
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor J Firth-Cozens
 Special Advisor on Modernisation, Postgraduate Medical & Dental Education, London Deanery, University of London, 33 Millman Street, London WC1N 3EJ, UK;

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The reasons behind miscommunication need understanding in order to find the right solutions

There is evidence from a variety of sources that communications between members of healthcare teams emerge as a key factor in poor care and are especially apparent where medical errors occur. Lingard et al1 take this as their starting point for an observational study of communication failures in operating theatres published in this issue of QSHC. They found that 31% of all communications could be categorised as a failure in some way—whether the information was missing or the timing was poor, or where issues were not resolved or key people absent. Moreover, more than a third of these failures had negative effects on what was happening. If we multiply all that by the million patients treated daily in the UK alone, we are into an overwhelming amount of miscommunication. Lingard et al1 suggest training interventions to remedy this but, to make such training appropriate, the causes of …

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