Use of In-Situ Simulation Based Clinical Systems Test of Thoracic Robotic Surgery Emergencies

J Surg Res. 2022 Aug:276:37-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2022.02.042. Epub 2022 Mar 22.


Introduction: With the advancement of robotic surgery, some thoracic surgeons have been slow to adopt to this new operative approach, in part because they are un-scrubbed and away from the patient while operating. Aiming to allay surgeon concerns of intra-operative emergencies, an insitu simulation-based clinical system's test (SbCST) can be completed to test the current clinical system, and to practice low-frequency, high-stakes clinical scenarios with the entire operating room (OR) team.

Methods: Six different OR teams completed an insitu SbCST of an intra-operative pulmonary artery injury during a robot-assisted thoracic surgery at a single tertiary care center. The OR team consisted of an attending thoracic surgeon, surgery resident, anesthesia attending, anesthesia resident, circulating nurse, and a scrub technician. This test was conducted with an entire OR team along with study observers and simulation center staff. Outcomes included the identified latent safety threats (LSTs) and possible solutions for each LST, culminating in a complete failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA). A Risk Priority Number (RPN) was determined for each LST identified. Pre- and post-simulation surveys using Likert scales were also collected.

Results: The six FMEAs identified 28 potential LSTs in four categories. Of these 28 LSTs, nine were considered high priority based on their Risk Priority Number (RPN) with seven of the nine being repeated multiple times. Pre- and post-simulation survey responses were similar, with the majority of participants (94%) agreeing that high fidelity simulation of intra-operative emergencies is helpful and provides an opportunity to train for high-stakes, low-frequency events. After completing the SbCST, more participants felt confident that they knew their role during an intra-operative emergency than their pre-simulation survey responses. All participants agreed that simulation is an important part of continuing education and is helpful for learning skills that are infrequently used. Following the SbCST, more participants agreed that they knew how to safely undock the da Vinci robot during an emergency.

Conclusions: SbCSTs provide an opportunity to test the current clinical system with a low-frequency, high-stakes event and allow medical personnels to practice their skills and teamwork. By completing multiple SbCSTs, we were able to identify multiple LSTs within different OR teams, allowing for a broader review of the current clinical systems in place. The use of these SbCSTs in conjunction with debriefing sessions and FMEA completion allows for the most significant potential improvement of the current system. This study shows that SbCST with FMEA completion can be used to test current systems and create better systems for patient safety.

Keywords: Intra-operative emergencies; Robotic surgery; Simulation training; Systems test; Thoracic surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Emergencies
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures*
  • Robotics*
  • Thoracic Surgery*