Implementation of a Device Briefing Tool reduces interruptions in surgery: A nonrandomized controlled pilot trial

Published:January 10, 2023DOI:



      Interruptions in operative flow are known to increase team stress and errors in the operating room. Device-related interruptions are an increasing area of focus for surgical safety, but common safety processes such as the Surgical Safety Checklist do not adequately address surgical devices. We assessed the impact of the Device Briefing Tool, a communication instrument for surgical teams, on device-related interruptions in a large academic referral center in Singapore.


      The Device Briefing Tool was implemented in 4 general surgery departments, with 4 additional departments serving as a comparator group. Trained observers evaluated device-related interruption incidence in live operations at baseline and after implementation. Changes in device-related interruption frequency were assessed in each group using Poisson regression, with and without adjustment for surgical department and device complexity. Subgroup analyses assessed the impact of the Device Briefing Tool by device type.


      A total of 210 operations were evaluated by observers. In the Device Briefing Tool group, there were 38.6 and 27.2 device-related interruptions per 100 cases at baseline and after Device Briefing Tool implementation, respectively (difference –23%, P = .0047, adjusted difference –28%, P = .0013). Device-related interruption frequency in the comparator group remained stable across study periods. Point estimates indicated reductions in device-related interruptions for all device types, reaching statistical significance for circular staplers (–26%, P = .0049).


      Implementation of the Device Briefing Tool was associated with a 28% reduction in device-related interruptions. Proactive approaches to improving surgical device safety are crucial in the technology-driven landscape of modern surgical care. Future efforts will assess formal integration of the Device Briefing Tool into institution-wide surgical safety processes.

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