Scientific article
Open access

Assessing distractors and teamwork during surgery: developing an event-based method for direct observation

Published inBMJ Quality and Safety, vol. 23, no. 11, p. 918-929
Publication date2014

OBJECTIVE: To develop a behavioural observation method to simultaneously assess distractors and communication/teamwork during surgical procedures through direct, on-site observations; to establish the reliability of the method for long (>3 h) procedures. METHODS: Observational categories for an event-based coding system were developed based on expert interviews, observations and a literature review. Using Cohen's κ and the intraclass correlation coefficient, interobserver agreement was assessed for 29 procedures. Agreement was calculated for the entire surgery, and for the 1st hour. In addition, interobserver agreement was assessed between two tired observers and between a tired and a non-tired observer after 3 h of surgery. RESULTS: The observational system has five codes for distractors (door openings, noise distractors, technical distractors, side conversations and interruptions), eight codes for communication/teamwork (case-relevant communication, teaching, leadership, problem solving, case-irrelevant communication, laughter, tension and communication with external visitors) and five contextual codes (incision, last stitch, personnel changes in the sterile team, location changes around the table and incidents). Based on 5-min intervals, Cohen's κ was good to excellent for distractors (0.74-0.98) and for communication/teamwork (0.70-1). Based on frequency counts, intraclass correlation coefficient was excellent for distractors (0.86-0.99) and good to excellent for communication/teamwork (0.45-0.99). After 3 h of surgery, Cohen's κ was 0.78-0.93 for distractors, and 0.79-1 for communication/teamwork. DISCUSSION: The observational method developed allows a single observer to simultaneously assess distractors and communication/teamwork. Even for long procedures, high interobserver agreement can be achieved. Data collected with this method allow for investigating separate or combined effects of distractions and communication/teamwork on surgical performance and patient outcomes.

  • Communication
  • Human Factors
  • Surgery
  • Teamwork
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
SEELANDT, Julia C. et al. Assessing distractors and teamwork during surgery: developing an event-based method for direct observation. In: BMJ Quality and Safety, 2014, vol. 23, n° 11, p. 918–929. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2014-002860
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2044-5415

Technical informations

Creation10/10/2017 10:33:00 AM
First validation10/10/2017 10:33:00 AM
Update time03/15/2023 2:15:06 AM
Status update03/15/2023 2:15:05 AM
Last indexation01/17/2024 1:10:54 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack