Communication and team situation awareness in the OR: Implications for augmentative information display

J Biomed Inform. 2011 Jun;44(3):477-85. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2010.04.002. Epub 2010 Apr 8.


Team Situation Awareness (TSA) is one of the critical factors in effective Operating Room (OR) teamwork and can impact patient safety and quality of care. While previous research showed a relationship between situation awareness, as measured by communication events, and team performance, the implications for developing technology to augment and facilitate TSA were not examined. This research aims to further study situation-related communications in the cardiac OR in order to uncover potential degradation in TSA which may lead to adverse events. The communication loop construct-the full cycle of information flow between the participants in the sequence-was used to assess susceptibility to breakdown. Previous research and the findings here suggest that communication loops that are open, non-directed, or with delayed closure, can be susceptible to information loss. These were quantitatively related to communication indicators of TSA such as questions, replies, and announcements. Taken together, both qualitative and quantitative analyses suggest that a high proportion of TSA-related communication (63%) can be characterized as susceptible to information loss. The findings were then used to derive requirements and design a TSA augmentative display. The design principles and potential benefits of such a display are outlined and discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Data Display
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Operating Rooms*
  • Patient Care Team