Simulated operation room hoped to halve patient injuries

Simulated operation room hoped to halve patient injuries

New simulated operation room training hopes to halve the number of patients being injured through surgery.

ACC pays out for an average of 1560 treatment injury claims a year for perioperative harm - injuries that occur during or around the time of an operation - and it costs them $10.2 million annually.

Treatment injuries have been increasing over the past five years and new teamwork training could be the answer.

A pilot study revealed surgeons weren't communicating properly during operations.

"We should be able to reduce the perioperative incidents by up to 50 percent by this training so that's a significant improvement in patient safety," says Dr Peter Robinson, ACC chief clinical advisor.

Associate Professor Jennifer Weller from the University of Auckland has helped develop a system in which surgical teams can practice working together on a computerised mannequin.

"You can control it, you can put standardised tests into it, you can put challenges, and then you can talk about it afterwards."

Hamiltonian Matt McCulloch underwent a hip operation five years ago, but a mistake left him with nerve damage and a limp.

"When trying to force it back in they hit my nerve, which caused my knee down to go limp and my foot to go hypersensitive."

He's a big fan of the new team-training.

"Absolutely, if someone can have a surgery and wake up and be perfectly fine, I'm all in," he says.

ACC is investing $9.6 million in the project, which will be rolled out across all DHBs over the next five years.