Frequency of Device-Related Interruptions Using a Scalable Assessment Tool



      Surgical devices are implicated in approximately 15% of intraoperative interruptions and 25% of errors. Device-related interruptions (DRIs) are therefore an important target for surgical quality improvement, but scalable measurement methodologies are lacking. The researchers therefore developed, pilot tested, and refined a simple tool for assessing intraoperative DRIs.


      Five DRI categories achieved face validity with frontline providers and surgical safety experts: improper/challenging assembly, device failure, loss of sterility, disconnection, and absent/wrong device. A data collection tool was created based on these categories as well as a free-text section to capture emergent DRI categories. After a brief training session, the tool was pilot tested by observers at a large academic referral center.


      In a sample of 210 operations, observers noted 66 DRIs across 39 cases. DRIs were most common in colorectal (38.0 per 100 cases), gynecologic (33.3 per 100 cases), and hepatopancreatobiliary surgery (32.1 per 100 cases). Device failure accounted for 30.3% of observed DRIs. Three emergent categories were identified: user unfamiliarity with the device (15.2%), video display malfunction (4.5%), and physical breakage of the device (1.5%).


      Measurement of DRIs by novice observers is a feasible and scalable approach to support quality improvement efforts focusing on surgical devices. This approach could provide actionable insights to improve device safety, such as informing educational and training programs, optimizing surgical tray composition, and improving the physical layout of the operating room.
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