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Perceived barriers to multiprofessional team briefings in operating theatres: a qualitative study
  1. Laura Fruhen1,
  2. Joseph Alexandre Carpini2,
  3. Sharon K Parker3,
  4. Yee Leung4,
  5. Adrian F S Flemming5
  1. 1 School of Psychological Science, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2 Business School, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia
  3. 3 Future of Work Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  4. 4 Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia
  5. 5 Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Surgery, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Laura Fruhen; laura.fruhen{at}


Objectives This study investigates perceived barriers towards the implementation of multiprofessional team briefings (MPTB) in operating theatres, as well as ways to overcome these perceived barriers. Previous research shows that MPTB can enhance teamwork and communication, but are underused in operating theatres. By adopting a multilevel systems perspective, this study examines perceived barriers and solutions for MPTB implementation.

Design Participants completed open-ended survey questions. Responses were coded via qualitative content analysis. The analysis focused on themes in the responses and the systems level at which each barrier and solution operates.

Setting Four tertiary hospitals in Australia.

Participants 103 operating theatre staff, including nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists, technicians and administrators.

Results Participants identified barriers and solutions at the organisational (15.81% of barriers; 74.10% of solutions), work group (61.39% of barriers; 25.09% of solutions) and individual level (22.33% of barriers; 0% of solutions). Of all the perceived barriers to MPTB occurrence, a key one is getting everyone into the room at the same time . Matching of perceived barriers and solutions shows that higher systems-level solutions can address lower level barriers, thereby showing the relevance of implementing such wider reaching solutions to MPTB occurrence (including work practices at occupational level and above) as well as addressing more local issues.

Conclusions Successful MPTB implementation requires changes at various systems levels. Practitioners can strategically prepare and plan for systems-based strategies to overcome barriers to MPTB implementation. Future research can build on this study’s findings by directly examining higher systems-level barriers and solutions via detailed case analyses.

  • preoperative communication
  • teamwork
  • team briefings
  • work design systems

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  • Contributors SKP was the principal investigator for this study. LF and JAC distributed the surveys. LF analysed the responses (together with a research assistant) on which the paper is based and led on writing this manuscript. LF, SKP, JAC, AFSF, and YL contributed to the design of the study and editing of the final manuscript and the refining of its intellectual content.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Government of Western Australia Department of Health grant number (F-AA-33992).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This research was granted ethical approval by the Human Research Ethics Office at the University of Western Australia (approval number/ID: RA/4/1/6933) and was performed in accordance with ethical standards.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement No data are available. The datasets analysed for the current study are not publicly available, as participants were not asked to consent to the sharing of the data at the time of data collection.