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Improving team collaboration in the operating theatre

  • 27 Feb 2015

AMRF funded research was recently profiled on One News.

Recent, important studies have shown that failures in teamwork and team communication in the operating theatre (OT) lead directly to clinical errors and patient harm. Research also suggests that training as a team for those who are expected to work in teams can significantly reduce these teamwork errors. These findings form the basis of the United States Institute of Medicine’s directive that such team-based training is needed. Despite this, training in healthcare tends to occur within professional specialties (professional “silos”) rather than in genuine interprofessional teams. Simulation provides a risk-free opportunity to train teams in a realistic environment, yet simulation activities at present remain focussed on single specialities. The current project will engage complete multiprofessional clinical teams comprising surgeons, an anaesthetist, an anaesthetic technician, and theatre nurses in a highly realistic simulated OT environment. The simulated environment and scenarios developed by our group will create a “laboratory” where multidisciplinary team interactions can be systematically studied in ways not possible in the clinical OT. We will measure the effect of a full-day simulation course intervention on surgical Complications in the clinical setting. Ultimately these simulations will lead to development of definitive strategies to improve performance, OT productivity, and patient safety.

You can read more about the Multidisciplinary Operating Room Simulation (MORSim) study here:

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