Objectives: The goal of this study was to contribute to the emerging body of literature about the role of human behaviors and cognitive processes in the commission of wrong procedures.
Methods: Case analysis of 5 wrong procedures in operative and nonoperative settings using James Reason's human error theory was performed.
Results: The case analysis showed that cognitive underspecification, cognitive flips, automode processing, and skill-based errors were contributory to wrong procedures. Wrong-site procedures accounted for the preponderance of the cases. Front-line supervisory staff used corrective actions that focused on the performance of the individual without taking into account cognitive factors.
Conclusions: System fixes using human cognition concepts have a greater chance of achieving sustainable safety outcomes than those that are based on the traditional approach of counseling, education, and disciplinary action for staff.