Quality of Communication in Robotic Surgery and Surgical Outcomes

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Publication Date


Publication Title

JSLS : Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons / Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Robotic surgery has introduced unique challenges to surgical workflow. The association between quality of communication in robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery and surgical outcomes was evaluated.

METHODS: After each gynecologic robotic surgery, the team members involved in the surgery completed a survey regarding the quality of communication. A composite quality-of-communication score was developed using principal component analysis. A higher composite quality-of-communication score signified poor communication. Objective parameters, such as operative time and estimated blood loss (EBL), were gathered from the patient's medical record and correlated with the composite quality-of-communication scores.

RESULTS: Forty robotic cases from March through May 2013 were included. Thirty-two participants including surgeons, circulating nurses, and surgical technicians participated in the study. A higher composite quality-of-communication score was associated with greater EBL (P = .010) and longer operative time (P = .045), after adjustment for body mass index, prior major abdominal surgery, and uterine weight. Specifically, for every 1-SD increase in the perceived lack of communication, there was an additional 51 mL EBL and a 31-min increase in operative time. The most common reasons reported for poor communication in the operating room were noise level (28/36, 78%) and console-to-bedside communication problems (23/36, 64%).

CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrates a significant association between poor intraoperative team communication and worse surgical outcomes in robotic gynecologic surgery. Employing strategies to decrease extraneous room noise, improve console-to-bedside communication and team training may have a positive impact on communication and related surgical outcomes.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Blood Loss, Surgical; Communication; Gynecologic Surgical Procedures; Humans; Interprofessional Relations; Middle Aged; Operative Time; Patient Care Team; Pilot Projects; Postoperative Complications; Principal Component Analysis; Prospective Studies; Quality Assurance, Health Care; Quality Indicators, Health Care; Robotic Surgical Procedures

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