Improving teamwork and communication in theatre

2 May 2016

Recent studies show that good teamwork and communication in operating theatres has a positive impact on performance and patient safety, and reduces perioperative harm. Which is why Hauora Tairāwhiti is participating in a national improvement programme focusing on teamwork and communication.

Following a proof of concept project at Waikato, Lakes and Southern Cross hospitals, four areas have being prioritised for national implementation. These are; briefings, paperless surgical safety checklists, debriefings and communications tools such as SBAR, two challenge rule, call outs and closed loop communication. 

The local theatre management team is the steering group for local implementation, supported by a project team being led by Dr Kelly Kartchner. Their current focus is on implementation of paperless checklists, and establishing methods to measure improvement.

On Friday 8 April, local workshops were attended by 38 theatre users and staff to introduce the aspects of the improvement programme. Feedback provided at the end of the sessions was that it is a great opportunity to improve communication, teamwork and safety. The project team also received feedback from the external facilitators, that the training went very well and that the local team is very engaged in the Safe Surgery Programme, which will really help with implementation and sustaining the changes.