A "Black Box" for Surgery


In the not so distant future, when a patient goes in for surgery, the eyes of the surgeon may not be the only ones watching. The aviation industry's approach to error-analysis is being brought to surgery with the recent development of a "black box" to monitor every aspect of the OR.Canadian surgeonDr. Grantcharov's black box will capture video from surgeons’ imaging equipment and a mounted wall camera in an effort to help ORs find out why complications arise.

The information attained will not be limited to video either, as “audio recordings of surgical team interactions, physiological data from the anesthesia monitor, and records of the room’s decibel levels and air temperature” will all be tracked and time-stamped.

The combination of these inputs can help OR managers determine what led to the error and how to limit those factors in the future.Research has already shown that surgical skill and complication rates are correlated; now, a holistic view into where those complications arise is more possible than ever before. Dr. Grantcharov has been capturing data with this device, and analyzing the results for over a year now. His findings are yet to be fully released, but the initial results have been “more than we [would have] thought”. With that being said, changes to this regard may be seen in your OR room sooner rather than later.

What are your thoughts on this type of “eye in the sky” technology? Are there cases you wish you had this type of information? If so, when and how would you use it to move forward?