Background: Many activities performed by team members in the operating room (OR) are not directly related to the achievement of the surgical goal.
Methods: A video-aided observational field study was conducted in the OR to examine disruptive events during laparoscopic antireflux surgery. Disruptive events were categorized into one of six groups: instrument change, surgeon position change, nurse duty shift, conversation, phone/pager answering, and extraneous interruption. The frequency and duration of each type of disruptive event were recorded. Events were further categorized based on whether or not they delayed the workflow.
Results: The average procedure time of 12 observed cases was 123 min. On average, a total of 114 disruptive events were recorded per hour. Intraoperative conversations were recorded with the highest frequency (71 episodes/h) and longest duration (16 min/h); however, most conversations did not delay surgical workflow. The events that generated most surgical delays were instrument change (3.4 min/h), which included times for placing essential instruments into the surgical site and time spent waiting for an unavailable instrument. On average, disruptive events performed in the OR caused 4.1 min of delay for each case per hour, corresponding to 6.5% of the procedure time.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated the feasibility of using video-aided observational studies for developing objective assessment of team quality in the OR. Categorizing disruptive events and examining their negative impact on the OR time will help to develop methods to eliminate inefficiency inside the OR.