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Koch, Amelie; Kullmann, Aljoscha; Stefan, Philipp; Weinmann, Tobias ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4582-5191; Baumbach, Sebastian F.; Lazarovici, Marc and Weigl, Matthias ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2408-1725 (2021): Intraoperative dynamics of workflow disruptions and surgeons' technical performance failures: insights from a simulated operating room. In: Surgical endoscopy [PDF, 599kB]


INTRODUCTION Flow disruptions (FD) in the operating room (OR) have been found to adversely affect the levels of stress and cognitive workload of the surgical team. It has been concluded that frequent disruptions also lead to impaired technical performance and subsequently pose a risk to patient safety. However, respective studies are scarce. We therefore aimed to determine if surgical performance failures increase after disruptive events during a complete surgical intervention. METHODS We set up a mixed-reality-based OR simulation study within a full-team scenario. Eleven orthopaedic surgeons performed a vertebroplasty procedure from incision to closure. Simulations were audio- and videotaped and key surgical instrument movements were automatically tracked to determine performance failures, i.e. injury of critical tissue. Flow disruptions were identified through retrospective video observation and evaluated according to duration, severity, source, and initiation. We applied a multilevel binary logistic regression model to determine the relationship between FDs and technical performance failures. For this purpose, we compared FDs in one-minute intervals before performance failures with intervals without subsequent performance failures. RESULTS Average simulation duration was 30:02~min (SD = 10:48~min). In 11 simulated cases, 114 flow disruption events were observed with a mean hourly rate of 20.4 (SD = 5.6) and substantial variation across FD sources. Overall, 53 performance failures were recorded. We observed no relationship between FDs and likelihood of immediate performance failures: Adjusted odds ratio = 1.03 (95% CI 0.46-2.30). Likewise, no evidence could be found for different source types of FDs. CONCLUSION Our study advances previous methodological approaches through the utilisation of a mixed-reality simulation environment, automated surgical performance assessments, and expert-rated observations of FD events. Our data do not support the common assumption that FDs adversely affect technical performance. Yet, future studies should focus on the determining factors, mechanisms, and dynamics underlying our findings.

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