Perioperative Interruptions Lead to Miscommunication

Miscommunications during surgery also increase when teams haven't worked together long

THURSDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- The number of miscommunications that occur during surgery is inversely associated with the length of time a team has worked together, and positively associated with the number of interruptions during surgery, according to a study published in the May issue of the AORN Journal.

Brigid M. Gillespie, Ph.D., R.N., of Griffith University in Gold Coast, Australia, and colleagues conducted an observational study involving 160 surgical procedures in 10 specialties conducted over a six-month period to assess the correlation between interruptions, team familiarity, and miscommunications during surgery. Interruptions were classified as conversational or procedural, and miscommunications were classified according to type: audience, purpose, occasion, content, or experience.

The researchers found that the length of time that a team had worked together was significantly and inversely associated with the number of miscommunications (P < 0.01). The number of miscommunications correlated positively with the number of interruptions (P < 0.01).

"These results may help to inform the development of evidence-based interventions designed to mitigate the effects of miscommunications in surgery," the authors write.

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