Simple budget-neutral tool to improve intraoperative communication

James Dougherty, Charlie Slowey, Anne Hermon, Jed Wolpaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Communication failure is a common cause of medical errors and adverse events. Within the operating room (OR), there are many barriers to good communication, which can adversely affect patient outcome. Objective Implementing a simple, cost-neutral tool aimed at improving intraoperative communication and engagement. Methods Three anaesthesiology residents collected data using a data sheet and tailored surveys distributed to OR staff. Data were collected over a 2-week period in 2019, with 1 week each of preintervention and postintervention data collection. The intervention consisted of wearing OR caps displaying the first name and role of the anaesthesia resident clearly on the front. Results A total of 20 data sheets and 48 preintervention and postintervention surveys were collected for a response rate of 57%. There was a statistically significant increase in OR staff knowledge of the anaesthesia resident's name (66% vs 100%, p=<0.001), an increase in the mean number of times the surgical providers addressed the anaesthesia residents (3.6 vs 7.8, p=0.0074) and an increase in the mean number of times the surgical providers addressed them by their first name (0.7 vs 4, p=0.0067). Comments received during the intervention were positive with overwhelming support. Conclusions This study demonstrated that a simple, cost-effective intervention can result in dramatic improvement in intraoperative communication and engagement between teams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-705
Number of pages3
JournalPostgraduate Medical Journal
Issue number1141
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • adult anaesthesia
  • quality in health care
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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