Integrating human and technological systems in the operating theatre: a multi-method study of information processing in surgical teams

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Surgery and Cancer

Abstract

Every surgical operation is unique; every patient's needs are different and there are many types of operation and different professionals working together in the operating theatre. There are certain risks involved in surgery with so much variation and novelty. Therefore, it is important that surgical teams understand the technical aspects of their teamwork. However, the professionals have limited time to assess their needs and meet the new demands placed upon them; they remain focused on their separate disciplines. Researchers must therefore look for ways to improve the teamwork among disciplines. This project will study the information that the team needs to prepare for and carry out surgery, and to identify things that might help or hinder communication. It will look at operations involving different technologies that help surgeons perform with minimal access and with robots. Psychologists will study the information presented in the operating theatre before the operation begins. They will also assess team communication during the operation to see how it is affected by different technologies. A clearer understanding of the information that is processed in the operating theatre will be useful for training new clinicians and for showing where information technology might improve teamwork in the operating theatre.

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