New Study Finds Short Operating Room Meetings Reduce Errors

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Surgery notes that brief communication prior to a surgical procedure reduces errors by 80%.
Several prospective studies have shown that “[u]se of preoperative briefings improves team communication, decreases disruptions to surgical workflow, improves compliance with antibiotic and deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, and improves overall perceptions about the safety climate in the OR.” These briefings are not mere perfunctory gatherings or the standard time-out. According to Dr. Hicks, from the Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, and coauthors write, “In a briefing, team members introduce themselves by name and role; a traditional time-out is performed; and then a formal review by the anesthesiological, surgical, and nursing staff is performed.” This communication provides team members to clearly delineate their respective roles in the operating room. Such briefings are a step in the right direction in terms of combating surgical errors.