Amsterdam hospital operating theatre gets a ‘black box’


Amsterdam University’s AMC teaching hospital is installing a ‘black box’ monitoring system in one of its 20 operating theatres in an effort to boost patient safety, the Volkskrant says on Tuesday.

The system will record all possible information about the operation, from heartbeat to the number of people entering and leaving the room. The information will be analysed to boost surgeon skills and flag up potential problems.

Patients will be able to request access to the information if something goes wrong during the operation but in principle it will be destroyed after two days, the paper says.

In addition, voices will be distorted to protect patient and medical staff privacy.

‘We are doing this to learn from experience,’ surgeon Marlies Schijven, who is leading the project, told the Volkskrant. ‘If the people who work here get the idea that things can be used against them, they will not want to work here… We don’t want a blame and shame culture.’

Research has shown that every year 970 people die unnecessarily in Dutch hospitals because of avoidable medical errors.

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