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Effects of perioperative briefing and debriefing on patient safety: a prospective intervention study
  1. Katharina Brigitte Margarethe Siew Lan Leong1,
  2. Mirelle Hanskamp-Sebregts2,
  3. Raymond A van der Wal1,
  4. Andre P Wolff3
  1. 1 Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain and Palliative Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Institute of Quality Assurance and Patient Safety, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  3. 3 Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain Center, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Drs. Mirelle Hanskamp-Sebregts; mirelle.hanskamp-sebregts{at}


Objectives This study was carried out to improve patient safety in the operating theatre by the introduction of perioperative briefing and debriefing, which focused on an optimal collaboration between surgical team members.

Design A prospective intervention study with one pretest and two post-test measurements: 1 month before and 4 months and 2.5 years after the implementation of perioperative briefing and debriefing, respectively.

Setting Operating theatres of a tertiary care hospital with 875 beds in the Netherlands.

Participants All members of five surgical teams participated in the perioperative briefing and debriefing.

Intervention The implementation of perioperative briefing and debriefing from July 2012 to January 2014.

Primary and secondary outcomes The primary outcome was changes in the team climate, measured by the Team Climate Inventory. Secondary outcomes were the experiences of surgical teams with perioperative briefing and debriefing, measured with a structured questionnaire, and the duration of the briefings, measured by an independent observer.

Results Two and a half years after the introduction of perioperative briefing and debriefing, the team climate increased statistically significant (p≤0.05). Members of the five surgical teams strongly agreed with the positive influence of perioperative briefing and debriefing on clear agreements and reminding one another of the agreements of the day. They perceived a higher efficiency of the surgical programme with more operations starting on time and less unexpectedly long operation time. The perioperative briefing took less than 4 min to conduct.

Conclusions Perioperative briefing and debriefing improved the team climate of surgical teams and the efficiency of their work within the operating theatre with acceptable duration per briefing. Surgical teams with alternating team compositions have the most benefit of briefing and debriefing.

  • quality in health care
  • change management

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors KBMSLL and MH-S led the writing of the first draft and revised this manuscript. RAvdW and APW developed and implemented the perioperative briefing and debriefing and contributed to critical revision of the manuscript. MH-S and RAvdW collected the data. KBMSLL and MH-S analysed and interpreted the data. All authors approved the version of the manuscript for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Research Ethics Committee of the Radboud University Medical Center.

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

  • Data sharing statement On request available to the corresponding author.

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