Preoperative team briefings have been suggested to be important for improving team performance in the operating room. Many high risk environments have accepted team briefings; however healthcare has been slower to follow. While applying briefings in the operating room has shown positive benefits including improved communication and perceptions of teamwork, most research has only focused on feasibility of implementation and not on understanding how the quality of briefings can impact subsequent surgical procedures. Thus, there are no formal protocols or methodologies that have been developed.
The goal of this study was to relate specific characteristics of team briefings back to objective measures of team performance. The study employed cognitive interviews, prospective observations, and principle component regression to characterize and model the relationship between team briefing characteristics and non-routine events (NREs) in gynecological surgery. Interviews were conducted with 13 team members representing each role on the surgical team and data were collected for 24 pre-operative team briefings and 45 subsequent surgical cases. The findings revealed that variations within the team briefing are associated with differences in team-related outcomes, namely NREs, during the subsequent surgical procedures. Synthesis of the data highlighted three important trends which include the need to promote team communication during the briefing, the importance of attendance by all surgical team members, and the value of holding a briefing prior to each surgical procedure. These findings have implications for development of formal briefing protocols.
Pre-operative team briefings are beneficial for team performance in the operating room. Future research will be needed to continue understanding this relationship between how briefings are conducted and team performance to establish more consistent approaches and as well as for the continuing assessment of team briefings and other similar team-related events in the operating room.