The Effect of Novel Decision Support Tools on Technical and Non-Technical Performance of Teams in Managing Emergencies

J Med Syst. 2022 Oct 5;46(11):75. doi: 10.1007/s10916-022-01866-4.


Cognitive aids have been shown to facilitate adherence to evidence-based guidelines and improve technical performance of teams when managing simulated critical events. Few studies have explored the effect of cognitive aids on non-technical skills, such as teamwork and communication. The current study sought to explore the effects of different decision support tools (DST), a type of cognitive aid, on the technical and non-technical performance of teams. The current study represents a randomized, blinded, control trial of the effects of three versions of an electronic DST on team performance during multiple simulations of perioperative emergencies. The DSTs included a version with only technical information, a version with only non-technical information and a version with both technical and non-technical information. The technical performance of teams was improved when they used the technical DST and the combined technical and non-technical DST when compared to memory alone. The technical performance of teams was significantly worse when using the non-technical DST. All three versions of the DST had a negligible effect on the non-technical performance of teams. The technical performance of teams in the current study was affected by different versions of a DST, yet there was no effect on the teams' non-technical performance. The use of a DST, including those that focused on non-technical information, did not impact the non-technical performance of the teams.

Keywords: Cognitive aids; Decision support tools; Non-technical skills; Resuscitation; Team performance; Technical skills.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Emergencies
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team*