In Search of Surgical Excellence: A Work Systems Approach

Douglas A. Wiegmann, Sacha Duff, Renaldo Blocker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Surgical excellence is marked by the ability to manage errors and unexpected events during an operation (de Leval et al., 2000; Wiegmann et al., 2007). However, even experienced surgical teams can be negatively impacted by minor problems that disrupt the œow of a surgical procedure. Specifically, as the number of minor events increases, the ability of a surgical team to cope with major problems decreases significantly (Reason, 2001). The accumulation of minor events appears to diminish the compensatory resources of the surgical team, increasing their vulnerability and susceptibility to committing errors (Carthey et al., 2003). Unfortunately, little is known about the nature and frequency of surgical œow disruptions that impact surgical performance. As a result, developing interventions that improve patient safety is onerous, and errors with serious rami-fications continue to occur at high rates in many surgical specialties, including cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, and neurosurgery (Kohn et al., 1999; Gawande et al., 2003).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care and Patient Safety, Second Edition
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781439830345
ISBN (Print)9781138074590
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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