Multiple Measures of Anesthesia Workload During Teaching and Nonteaching Cases

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Abstract

In this study, we sought to examine several measures of anesthesia provider workload during different phases of anesthesia care and during teaching and nonteaching cases. Clinical work was assessed in real-time during 24 general anesthetics performed by consenting anesthesia providers. Workload was measured using physiological (provider heart rate), psychological (self-assessment and observer rating), and procedural (response latency to an alarm light and workload density) techniques. Clinicians’ heart rates, observer and self-reported workload scores, and nonteaching workload density were consistently increased during anesthetic induction and emergence compared with maintenance. In nonteaching cases, workload density correlated with heartrate and with psychological workload. Workload density during teaching cases did not decrease during the induction and was significantly greater than during non-teaching cases. Alarm-light response latency (a measure of clinical vigilance) was significantly prolonged during the teaching compared with nonteaching cases. These results suggest that intraoperative teaching increases the workload of the clinician instructor and may reduce vigilance during anesthesia care. Additionally, multiple workload measures may provide a more comprehensive profile of the work demands of clinical cases.

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