Information needs in operating room teams: what is right, what is wrong, and what is needed?
Wong HW., Forrest D., Healey A., Shirafkan H., Hanna GB., Vincent CA., Sevdalis N.
BACKGROUND: Safe surgical care requires effective information transfer between members of the operating room (OR) team. The present study aims to assess directly, systematically, and comprehensively, information needs of all OR team-members. METHODS: Thirty-three OR team-members (16 surgeons/anesthesiologists, 17 nurses) took part in a mixed-method interview. Participants indicated what information they need, their problems accessing it, and potential interventions to improve information transfer. They also rated the importance of different sources of information and the quality (accuracy, availability, timeliness, completeness, and clarity) of the information that they typically receive. Theme extraction and statistical analyses (descriptive and inferential) were used to analyze the data. RESULTS: The patient emerged as the top source of information. Surgeons and anesthesiologists relied more on information from fellow clinicians, as well as information originating from diagnostic and imaging labs. They were also more critical about the quality of the information than nursing personnel. Anesthesiologists emerged as the most reliable source of information, whereas information coming from surgeons was deemed lacking in quality (even by surgeons themselves). Finally, the more time participants had spent working in ORs, the more negative views they had about the information that they receive-an unexpected finding. Communication skills training, standardized communication protocols, and information technology (IT) systems to function as a central information repository were the top three proposed interventions. CONCLUSIONS: This study comprehensively maps information sources, problems, and solutions expressed by OR end-users. Recent developments in skills training modules and patient safety interventions for the OR (Surgical Safety Checklist) are discussed as potential interventions that will ameliorate communication in ORs, with a view to enhance patient safety and surgical care.