Adverse events in surgery are a relevant cause of costs, disability, or death, and their incidence is a key quality indicator that plays an important role in the future of health care. In neurosurgery, little is known about the frequency of adverse events and the contribution of human error.
The aim of this study from Meyer et al. was to determine the incidence, nature and severity of adverse events in neurosurgery, and to investigate the contribution of human error.
They found that adverse events occur frequently in neurosurgery. These data can serve as benchmarks when discussing quality-based accreditation and reimbursement in upcoming health care reforms. The high frequency of human performance deficiencies contributing to adverse events shows that there is potential to further eliminate avoidable patient harm.
Highlights of the study:
- Prospective observation of all patients treated at an academic neurosurgical centre.
- Investigation of the incidence and severity of adverse events and their relation to human error.
- 25.0% of patients had at least one adverse event.
- Human error was involved in 25.9% of cases with adverse events.
- These data provide benchmarks for tertiary care neurosurgery and health care reform.