Distraction during surgical procedures is associated with inadequate team performance and medical error. Little information has been published about healthcare providers’ perceptions of distraction and its adverse effects in the operating room. The objective of this article was to explore the operating room team’s perception of multiple distractions during surgical procedures. After a series of targeted questions posed to various OR staff members, the results revealed that the top 5 distractions fell into the categories of equipment and environment.
- Calls, callers, loud noise or music, and miscommunication consistently rank in the top five disruptors.
- Case-related communication, music, education, and advice were the four most frequently perceived positive effects during the surgical process.
- Distractions with higher levels of “annoyance” appear to be associated with higher levels of perceived negative impact on the surgical procedure.
- Vision was the least distracting factor and appeared to have minimal positive impact during the operation.
To the best of my knowledge, this is the first survey to investigate the perceptions of surgical, anesthesia, and operating room staff regarding various distractions in the operating room. Reducing unnecessary distractions can improve surgical flow, improve teamwork, and potentially improve patient outcomes while reducing unnecessary risks.
- A systematic review of the effect of distraction on surgeon performance: directions for operating room policy and surgical training