Surgeons with a higher number of co-worker reports of unprofessional behaviour have a significantly higher risk of patients having surgical and medical complications, according to a new study in JAMA Surgery.
The retrospective cohort study examined data from two medical centres, which recorded electronic reports of safety events from co-workers describing unprofessional behaviour by surgeons such as concerns about poor or unsafe care and in the domains of communication, integrity and responsibility. Data were examined on 13,653 patients undergoing surgery performed by 202 surgeons.
The study found patients whose surgeons had one to three reports in the 36 months prior to surgery were at 18.1 per cent higher estimated risk of complication, and those whose surgeon had four or more reports were at 31.7 per cent higher estimated mean risk of complication compared with patients whose surgeon had no reports. The adjusted complication rate was 14.3 per cent higher for patients whose surgeons had one to three reports and 11.9 per cent higher for patients whose surgeons had four or more reports (P=.05).
The authors said organisations interested in ensuring optimal patient outcomes should focus on addressing surgeons whose behaviour towards other medical professionals may increase their patients’ risk for adverse outcomes.