Improving Operating Room Coordination: Communication Pattern Assessment

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Abstract

Objective

To capture communication patterns in operating room (OR) management to characterize the information needs of OR coordination.

Background

Technological applications can be used to change system processes to improve communication and information access, thereby decreasing errors and adverse events. The successful design of such applications relies on an understanding of communication patterns among healthcare professionals

Methods

Charge nurse communication was observed and documented at four OR suites at three tertiary hospitals. The data collection tool allowed rapid coding of communication patterns in terms of duration, mode, target person, and the purpose of each communication episode.

Results

Most (69.24%) of the 2074 communication episodes observed occurred face to face. Coordinating equipment was the most frequently occurring purpose of communication (38.7%) in all suites. The frequency of other purposes in decreasing order were coordinating patient preparedness (25.7%), staffing (18.8%), room assignment (10.7%), and scheduling and rescheduling surgery (6.2%).

Conclusion

The results of this study suggest that automating aspects of preparing patients for surgery and surgical equipment management has the potential to reduce information exchange, decreasing interruptions to clinicians and diminishing the possibility of adverse events in the clinical setting.

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