Minnesota Hospital Association

Quality & Patient Safety

April 21, 2006

Minnesota Adverse Health Event Alert: Healthcare Industry Representatives


A report submitted to the patient safety registry describes a case in which a manufacturer’s sales representative who was present in an operating room provided the wrong product to the operating room staff. This product was then used in the procedure, resulting in an adverse outcome to the patient.

This event, and a recent article by the Patient Safety Authority in Pennsylvania entitled, “Healthcare Industry Representatives: Maximizing Benefits and Reducing Risks,” highlights the need to reduce risk associated with the presence of manufacturer’s representatives during surgical procedures.

MHA and MDH recommend that all hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers review their practices and policies to ensure that clear requirements and procedures are in place governing the presence of manufacturer’s representatives in the operating room and their interaction with operating room staff. The Pennsylvania article mentioned above offers additional information and resources. This issue is also addressed in the 2005 position statements of the American College of Surgeons and The Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses.