A Mayo Clinic pilot project found a preoperative surgical team briefing prior to cardiac surgery led to improved communication, fewer errors and reduced cost.
Some 56 surgical staff membersincluding assistants, technicians, nurses and anesthetistsdesigned one- to eight-minute briefings in which each team member discussed specific roles in the procedures and concerns about the patient. The briefings are different from checklists, which review the accuracy of medications, patient conditions, supplies and other components of the surgical process.
Instead, the briefings helped to mitigate surgical disruptions, such as equipment and resource issues and miscommunication events, the researchers said. Results were published online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Observers for the Mayo pilot monitored six surgeries before which briefings were conducted and 10 surgeries that did not have briefings. Miscommunication events were reduced by 53% when briefings were completed, and medical supply waste also was reduced. The researchers said more studies and pilots are needed to more broadly incorporate the findings from this project.
The goal of the briefings was to get everyone used to talking when there wasnt a problem, so they would be more likely to speak up when problems occur, said Thoralf Sundt, a Mayo Clinic cardiac surgeon who volunteered his surgery team for the study, in a written statement. We know that miscommunication is a major cause of sentinel events, an unexpected death or serious injury.