Measuring Ergonomic Risk in Operating Surgeons by Using Wearable Technology | JAMA Surgery | JAMA Network
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    Research Letter
    March 11, 2020

    Measuring Ergonomic Risk in Operating Surgeons by Using Wearable Technology

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, Arizona
    • 2Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
    • 3Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
    • 4Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
    • 5Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha
    JAMA Surg. 2020;155(5):444-446. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.6384

    The health care workforce faces numerous occupational hazards, leading to rates of injury and absenteeism that exceed those of the construction and manufacturing sectors.1,2 To date, efforts to address these problems have focused on improving safety for support staff, nurses, and allied health care personnel. Work-associated pain among surgeons has garnered less attention, despite the implications of practitioner injury and disability on the surgical workforce.3

    Ergonomists have long recognized the potential hazards facing the surgeon; from the ergonomic standpoint, surgery has been described as “a mess.”4(p1011) However, research has suffered from the absence of an objective means to measure surgeons’ ergonomic stress. This study describes the ergonomic risks of surgery using wearable sensor inertial measurement units (IMUs) to monitor the ergonomics of surgeons at work and identifies risk factors for injury.