Journal Article

Implementing standardized operating room briefings and debriefings at a large regional medical center.

Berenholtz SM, Schumacher K, Hayanga AJ, et al. Joint Commission journal on quality and patient safety. 2009;35:391-7.

Improving teamwork and communication is a key strategy to prevent errors in the operative setting. Past studies have evaluated the role of checklists, briefings, and targeted educational programs as potential solutions. This prospective cohort study describes the development of a standardized briefing and debriefing tool. Investigators implemented the tools across surgical specialties and evaluated their impact in more than 37,000 briefings and debriefings. While clinical patient outcomes were not assessed, the study found improved perceptions of interdisciplinary teamwork and communication among providers. The authors advocate for this and similar tools that provide structured communication strategies for health care providers. An AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed the role of a time out in improving teamwork and communication in the operative setting.