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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article
Study

Surgical never events and contributing human factors.

Thiels CA, Lal TM, Nienow JM, et al. Surgery. 2015;158:515-21.

Never events are devastating and preventable, and health care organizations are under increasing pressure to eliminate them completely. In this study, investigators evaluated all procedural never events using a validated human factors analysis method. They uncovered multiple underlying causes for each event. Cognitive failures were identified in about half the events. Preconditions, including environmental and technologic factors, were common contributors to events. Consistent with prior studies, the authors recommend enhancing communication among team members to augment safety. These results demonstrate the need to develop individual cognitive training interventions as well as systems approaches to address never events.