Effect of cognitive aids on adherence to best practice in the treatment of deteriorating surgical patients: a randomized clinical trial in a simulation setting.
Failure to rescue is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality and is often associated with human error. In this innovative study, the authors posit that the use of cognitive aids, which are prompts that can help practitioners’ complete evidence-based tasks (e.g. symptom-specific checklists, flowcharts, and clinical guidelines), could improve timely recognition and effective management of complications in a surgical population. The study randomized surgeons and nurses to manage deteriorating patients in simulated scenarios with or without the use of cognitive aids. Use of cognitive aids significantly reduced omitted critical management steps and failure to adhere to best practices.