, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 77-83
Date: 04 Feb 2014

Making a Difference Through Improving Teamwork in the Operating Room: A Systematic Review of the Evidence on What Works


Surgical patients are at risk of harm from avoidable adverse events, many of which are at least in part attributable to failures in teamwork and communication. We undertook a systematic review of studies of interventions to improve teamwork and communication in the operating room (OR) that measured an outcome important for patient care in the clinical environment. We found good evidence to support several interventions: structured approaches to information sharing between OR team members; ongoing programmes of team training; and organisational changes to support team function. Many studies demonstrated improved team function in the clinical environment, improved OR processes, and/or improved patient outcomes. This review identified successful approaches to improving teamwork and communication in the OR and provided recommendations for practice.