Black box installed in operating room at the Ottawa Hospital

The Ottawa Hospital has become the fourth hospital in Canada to install a black box in an operating room.

Similar to what is found in an airplane, this black box records audio, video, patient vital signs and other information from the operating room.

“It’s all synchronized together to give us a complete picture of what happens inside the O.R.,” says Nicole Etherington, a clinical research associate.

Studies suggest that more than half of surgery complications can be linked to problems with teamwork and communication among operating room staff.

“Our team wants to explore how we can improve teamwork, communication in the operating room among team members to make surgery safer,” says Dr. Sylvain Boet, an anesthesiologist and lead researcher for the project.

Measures have been taken to protect privacy including blurring faces and distorting voices. The data is not looked at in real time but rather after the fact by a team in Toronto.

Information will be collected and analyzed over the next few months.

“In the future we hope to get more blaxes and scale it up so we can learn from more surgeries, more specialties,” says Dr. Boet.