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Surgical Outcomes Club
September 2016

Innovative Approaches for Modifying Surgical Culture

Author Affiliations
  • 1STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 4VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Surg. 2016;151(9):791-792. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.0425

The practice of medicine, although rooted in biological science, is a social endeavor. It depends on the interactions between patients and clinicians within the confines of a larger health care system. To the extent that we have vocabulary to describe these dynamic interactions, 1 word in particular has emerged as a catchphrase that simultaneously conjures the broad and specific meanings of such complicated processes. That word is culture. The term local culture, for example, refers to the more narrow range of interactions within a hospital unit or clinic. Surgical culture represents the broader relations at play when providing surgical care.