Quality improvement in surgery combining lean improvement methods with teamwork raining: A controlled before-after study

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Copyright: © 2015 Robertson et al. Background To investigate the effectiveness of combining teamwork training and lean process improvement, two distinct approaches to improving surgical safety. We conducted a controlled interrupted time series study in a specialist UK Orthopaedic hospital incorporating a plastic surgery team (which received the intervention) and an Orthopaedic theatre team acting as a control. Study Design We used a 3 month intervention with 3 months data collection period before and after it. A combined teamwork training and lean process improvement intervention was delivered by an experienced specialist team. Before and after the intervention we evaluated team nontechnical skills using NOTECHS II, technical performance using the glitch rate and WHO checklist compliance using a simple 3 point scale. We recorded complication rate, readmission rate and length of hospital stay data for 6 months before and after the intervention. Results In the active group, but not the control group, full compliance with WHO Time Out (T/O) increased from 14 to 71% (p = 0.032), Sign Out attempt rate (S/O) increased from 0% to 50% (p < 0.001) and Oxford NOTECHS II scores increased after the intervention (P = 0.058). Glitch rate decreased in the active group and increased in the control group (p = 0.001). Complications and length of stay appeared to rise in the control group and fall in the active group. Conclusions Combining teamwork training and systems improvement enhanced both technical and nontechnical operating team process measures, and were associated with a trend to better safety outcome measures in a controlled study comparison.We suggest that approaches which address both system and culture dimensions of safety may prove valuable in reducing risks to patients.




Robertson, E., Morgan, L., New, S., Pickering, S., Hadi, M., Collins, G., … McCulloch, P. (2015). Quality improvement in surgery combining lean improvement methods with teamwork raining: A controlled before-after study. PLoS ONE, 10(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0138490

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