With over 300 million people worldwide going under the knife every year, safer surgery is a universal healthcare priority. New studies and advances in medical science are reducing risk all the time — but the key to increasing patient safety is neither complex nor around the proverbial corner, but right in front of us.

According to the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, the most reported root causes of surgical errors are things like lack of leadership, poor communication, improper assessment, and other simple varieties of human error. By advocating for these four principles, we can make the OR a safer place for everyone.


  1. Communication: The greatest source of preventable medical errors is poor communication. Without the proper measures in place, surgical and interdisciplinary staff can easily fail to pass on important information, make assumptions, or even confuse one surgery with another. 
  2. Staff Retention: Poor staffing is a key risk factor for surgical errors. With regular advances in medical science, highly trained and capable staff is not a luxury, but a necessity. In addition, continuity in personnel allows for a more accurate flow of information and more consistent treatment for patients. Investing in staff is one of the most important elements in making surgery safer. 
  3. Blood Transfusion Reduction: Research has shown that postoperative blood transfusions are not always necessary and can often increase the risk of morbidity and mortality in certain patient populations.
  4. Sterilization: You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” It’s akin to a lesser-known saying, “Cleanliness significantly reduces the number of preventable medical errors that occur each year.” 

In the high-stress, high-performance world of the OR, even the smallest details can have a significant impact. Preventing medical errors can be as simple as improving communication, practicing good catheter techniques, and using checklists. Download our free infographic as a helpful reminder that reducing risk happens in small ways every day.

About SpecialtyCare

SpecialtyCare is the industry leader in perfusion and intraoperative neuromonitoring, providing staff and resources to 1,100 hospitals and health systems nationwide. We offer services such as perfusion, ECMO, autotransfusion, sterile processing consulting, surgical assist, and complex instrument support. Our job is to make surgery safer, share innovation and research using our extensive knowledge base, and help your health system maintain standards of excellence and improve patient outcomes year after year. To learn more about our services, contact us today.