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Much of what happens in the operating room is shrouded in mystery: The patient goes to sleep, the surgeon goes to work, and things go as planned — or sometimes they don’t.

Though hospitals track patient outcomes for surgeons, most of today’s reporting and analysis falls short of the insights that could be possible with more sophisticated data from the operating room. There’s a growing movement to change that, guided by research linking what happens under the knife to patient outcomes.


More rigorous evaluation of surgical technique is on the horizon, aided by technology companies turning laparoscopic cameras and other surgical tools into sources of ground truth. There’s immense promise in using robust data and artificial intelligence to improve the practice of surgery. But surgeons caution that using video and other tech for board certification or performance reviews can be risky.

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