Surgical Team Training Can Improve Communication

Surgical team training interventions appear to improve outcomes in operating room settings

THURSDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Team training interventions in the operating room (OR) may enhance communication among team members and result in improvements in outcomes such as complication rates, according to a report published in the December issue of the AORN Journal.

Brigid M. Gillespie, R.N., Ph.D., of Griffith University in Australia, and colleagues reviewed the literature and identified 12 studies conducted from 2004 to 2009 that looked at team training interventions used in the OR. The studies reviewed a variety of team training tools and strategies, such as debriefings, checklists, workshops, and simulation, either alone or in combination.

The researchers found statistically significant before-and-after improvements in teamwork practices and in secondary outcomes, including complication rates. They note that their findings suggest team training interventions are useful for improving team cohesion and communication. Eight of the 12 studies used a combination of team-building strategies (debriefings, checklists, workshops, and simulation), five used debriefings as part of their team training, and only two used simulation. All of the studies regularly incorporated briefing checklists as part of their team training strategies.

"Most encouragingly, the results of this review suggest that implementing team training interventions in OR settings does improve team communication and, consequently, increase patient safety," the authors write.

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