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The influence of standardisation and task load on team coordination patterns during anaesthesia inductions


Zala-Mezö, E; Wacker, J; Künzle, B; Brüesch, M; Grote, G (2009). The influence of standardisation and task load on team coordination patterns during anaesthesia inductions. Quality and Safety in Health Care, 18(2):127-130.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The use of different forms of coordination according to situational demands plays a crucial role in teams working in complex environments. This study aimed to describe patterns of coordinative actions (CAs) as they occur during anaesthesia induction and to analyse the influence of two crucial situational factors on these patterns, namely the amount of existing standards and the level of task load. METHODS: 23 anaesthesia inductions were videotaped, and CAs of the anaesthesia teams were coded. The coding system distinguished between implicit and explicit coordination, coordination via leadership and heedful inter-relating as the individual effort to reach smooth coordination. Five phases within anaesthesia inductions were determined according to their level of standardisation and task load. RESULTS: Overall, 67.7% of all CAs were rated as explicit CA and 32.3% as implicit CAs. When we considered the duration of those CAs, we found the reverse tendency (coordination was explicit 40% of the time and implicit 60% of the time). In highly standardised phases, we observed less explicit coordination, less leadership behaviour and less heedful interrelating compared with less standardised phases. In high-task-load phases, we observed more heedful interrelating than in low-task-load phases. CONCLUSIONS: The anaesthesia teams relied greatly on implicit coordination, which contrasts with findings indicating a performance benefit through explicit coordination in other work settings. Standardisation in the form of written departmental directives may have a supportive effect on coordination by partially substituting for other forms of coordination. The effect of high task load should be tested further in a simulator setting, where high task load can be induced in a more controlled fashion.

BACKGROUND: The use of different forms of coordination according to situational demands plays a crucial role in teams working in complex environments. This study aimed to describe patterns of coordinative actions (CAs) as they occur during anaesthesia induction and to analyse the influence of two crucial situational factors on these patterns, namely the amount of existing standards and the level of task load. METHODS: 23 anaesthesia inductions were videotaped, and CAs of the anaesthesia teams were coded. The coding system distinguished between implicit and explicit coordination, coordination via leadership and heedful inter-relating as the individual effort to reach smooth coordination. Five phases within anaesthesia inductions were determined according to their level of standardisation and task load. RESULTS: Overall, 67.7% of all CAs were rated as explicit CA and 32.3% as implicit CAs. When we considered the duration of those CAs, we found the reverse tendency (coordination was explicit 40% of the time and implicit 60% of the time). In highly standardised phases, we observed less explicit coordination, less leadership behaviour and less heedful interrelating compared with less standardised phases. In high-task-load phases, we observed more heedful interrelating than in low-task-load phases. CONCLUSIONS: The anaesthesia teams relied greatly on implicit coordination, which contrasts with findings indicating a performance benefit through explicit coordination in other work settings. Standardisation in the form of written departmental directives may have a supportive effect on coordination by partially substituting for other forms of coordination. The effect of high task load should be tested further in a simulator setting, where high task load can be induced in a more controlled fashion.

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23 citations in Web of Science®
26 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Anesthesiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:10 Feb 2010 09:21
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:50
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:1475-3898
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1136/qshc.2007.025973
PubMed ID:19342527
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-28823

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