Bladeless scalpelsSurgeons: how would you like every move of the surgeries you perform recorded with a “black box” type device?  Such a device would make a record of every movement during a surgery, and potentially, provide real-time feedback to identify mistakes.  Not only would it record the surgery itself, it could record every word uttered by the medical team during a surgery.

The potential and hopeful benefits include improved results and reduced complications.  Surgeons could study film of their procedures with an eye towards improvement.  In other words, the “black box” would be used as an educational tool.

The obvious downside: potential malpractice claims.  Having a contemporaneous recording of every move, every cut, every action could be a surgeon’s worst nightmare in the event of a malpractice lawsuit.  This could actually increase the number of malpractice claims.

One solution: rules or regulations which strictly limit the recordings to educational/peer review use and specifically prevent them from being produced or used during litigation.  This type of protection is provided by the Health Care Quality and Improvement Act for peer review information.  Why not extend it to the use of the “black box?”