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Notice of privacy incident at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital Learn More

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Frequently Asked Questions About OR Black Box Technology for BWFH Patients

What is the OR Black Box (ORBB)?

The OR Black Box (ORBB) is a system that utilizes state-of-the-art technology to analyze team function and safety in the operating room (OR).

How does the ORBB work?

The system uses small video cameras, microphones, and sensors to record what happens in the OR. The system simultaneously captures audio, visual, environmental and device data. The patients and providers are de-identified and the data are used to create summary reports about OR team performance and safety.

What is the purpose of the ORBB system?

The purpose of the ORBB system is to use data to make our ORs even safer. The ORBB will help us better understand and improve OR patient safety, quality, efficiency and team culture.

How does the ORBB benefit me?

While our staff takes every precaution to ensure your safety during surgery, the ORBB will improve our understanding of the factors that contribute to patient safety, team performance, and OR efficiency. The lessons learned from the data will be useful for quality improvement and patient safety initiatives, as well as training of surgical teams. Our goal is to make surgery as safe as possible for our patients.

How does the ORBB affect my surgery?

The ORBB devices are designed to work behind the scenes without affecting your surgery at all. The devices do not make noise or require any attention from your surgical team. There is no additional cost to you.

Who has access to the de-identified ORBB data and recordings?

BWFH has created a special committee for the ORBB, which will have secure access to summary reports and de-identified recordings. BWFH and the committee never have access to your raw, identifiable audio or video at any time.

How is my privacy protected?

Staff and patient data are de-identified (e.g.: skin and clothing are neutralized, bodies, faces and tattoos are blurred and voices are altered) by irreversible computer algorithms. Personal information in any recorded staff conversation (e.g.: names, addresses, dates etc.) are removed. Once de-identified and removed, neither the vendor (Surgical Safety Technologies Inc.) nor the BWFH committee can use these data to identify individuals. This means that your identity remains protected and unknown to others at all times. The secure data can only be viewed by the BWFH committee for quality improvement and patient safety.

Can I request to view or obtain ORBB recordings?

No. All de-identified data and recordings generated by the ORBB are managed by the special committee at BWFH. The committee and BWFH will never have access to raw, identifiable data or recordings at any time.

Do you have additional questions or feedback? Please email the OR Black Box Project Team at

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