Risk Communication during Robot-Assisted Surgery
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Effective communication between members of the surgical team is essential for a good outcome. Communication between members of this team may be affected by where each member stands in the operating room hierarchy. Breakdowns in communication have previously resulted in poor patient care and, in some cases, patient fatality. These breakdowns are particularly dangerous during exchanges of risk messages. Ten robot-assisted prostatectomies were examined for effective risk communication between surgical staff of varying hierarchical levels and the effect of the risk message on situational awareness. While there was a significant difference in the effect of hierarchical status on when a risk message was delivered (p < 0.05), hierarchy did not have a statistically significant impact on the situational awareness ratings. Proactive messages were significantly more effective at increasing situational awareness than reactive messages. While there were significant findings, further insight is needed to determine the impact of risk communication within the operating room.