KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Researchers: Operating Room Checklists, Good Work Environments For Nurses Help Reduce Errors, Readmissions

A pair of studies examines how hospitals can manage O.R. emergencies and nurse patient loads.

Reuters: Checklists May Help Avoid Surgery Oversights: Study
Having step-by-step checklists on hand may help doctors and nurses manage emergencies in the operating room, a new study suggests. In situations when a person's heart stops beating on the operating table or a patient begins bleeding uncontrollably, those lists can save time and brainpower, researchers said. "The standard practice across the country has just been, you work from memory and reason your way through a crisis," said Dr. Atul Gawande, from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who worked on the study (Pittman, 1/16).

Medscape: Nurses' Work Environment May Influence Readmission Risk
Better hospital work environments and staffing levels for nurses may lower the risk for Medicare readmissions, according to the results of a new survey. For patients with 3 common conditions, 30-day readmission rates were significantly lower in hospitals with a good work environment compared with those with poor work environments, Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, JD, MPH, RN, and Chenjuan Ma, PhD, RN, from the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, report in an article published in the January issue of Medical Care. Readmission risk went up with each additional patient per nurse in the average nurse's workload (MacReady, 1/16).

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