Real-Time Debriefing After Critical Events: Exploring the Gap Between Principle and Reality

Anesthesiol Clin. 2020 Dec;38(4):801-820. doi: 10.1016/j.anclin.2020.08.003. Epub 2020 Oct 13.


Debriefing after perioperative crises (eg, cardiac arrest, massive hemorrhage) is a well-described practice that can provide benefits to individuals, teams, and health systems. Debriefing has also been embraced by high-stakes industries outside of health care. Yet, in studies of actual clinical practice, there are many critical events that do not get debriefed. This article explores the gap that exists between principle and reality and the factors and strategies to offer opportunities to reflect on actual critical events, when indicated, across the increasing scope of environments where anesthesia care is provided.

Keywords: Crew/crisis resource management; Critical event debriefing; Debriefing; Feedback; Implementation science; Medical education; Medical simulation; Patient safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia*
  • Anesthesiology* / education
  • Clinical Competence
  • Humans