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New software could help eliminate surgical errors

Surgical errors, from operating on the wrong part of the body to giving a patient the wrong organ, are rare. In fact, they happen in only .03 percent of all operations in the U.S. Still, up to 10,000 patients are injured every year from such surgical "never events." Florida residents will want to know about a startup in Chicago that may have the solution for not only reducing surgical errors but also eliminating them for good.

Established in 2015, SafeStart Medical uses smart mobile devices and a cloud-based patient and clinician portal to create an enhanced patient safety record. The administrative side begins by adding the clinical documents and other important data like surgeon annotated photos and the allergies and consent forms. In the end, both the physician and patient are to review and approve of the record.

The CEO, who worked as a general surgeon for 38 years, said that his goal was to break down the silo mentality and to involve patients in the safety process. The technology has yet to be commercialized as SafeStart is still doing field research.

So-called surgical "never events" are mistakes that are so blatant that they should never occur. Communication and hand-off errors are to blame for at least 50 percent of these never events.

While medical errors are still rare, they can result in serious injuries and even permanent disabilities. Those who believe that negligence was behind the error will want to speak with a medical malpractice attorney. If it can be shown that there was a doctor-patient relationship and that the doctor neglected an objective standard of care, the victim could have grounds for a claim. The attorney could request an inquiry with the local medical board and have third parties conduct their own investigations.

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