Ask HRC: Considerations for Policies Governing Outsiders Who Observe Surgical Procedures

May 27, 2014 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​A Healthcare Risk Control (HRC) member recently asked how hospitals should handle situations in which a provider wants to bring in someone to observe surgery (e.g., his/her nephew who intends to go to medical school) when the observer is not part of a college or other program that has a formal agreement with the hospital.

The risks of allowing people who do not work in healthcare and who are not currently medical students could be greater than restricting observers to only industry representatives and medical students. The presence of industry representatives could arguably be important to patient care in a given situation (e.g., because of the industry representative's special knowledge of a medical device), and the presence of medical students in operating rooms (ORs) is well recognized as important to the training of future doctors. However, the presence of anyone who falls outside those categories is of more tenuous benefit, and these individuals...

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