Coordination of perioperative work is challenging. Advancements in diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities have not been followed by similar advancements in the ability to coordinate care.
A recent study by Lillebo and Faxvaag explored the nature of continuous coordination as practiced by perioperative staff in order to coordinate their own activities with respect to those of their colleagues. In-depth interviews (n = 14), and combined observations and focused interviews (n = 31) with perioperative staff (physicians, nurses, technicians, and cleaners), were conducted at a major university hospital in Norway. Data were analysed qualitatively with systematic text condensation.
The results indicated that a surgical schedule was important for informing staff members about the cases and tasks they had been assigned. Staff also depended on ad hoc, explicit communication to ensure timeliness of particular perioperative activities. This, however, left little room for adjustments of other activities. Hence, to be able to proactively coordinate their own work some staff tried to predict future perioperative activities by observing the workplace, monitoring the surgical scheduling software for changes, and sharing their colleagues’ progress updates and predictions. These findings could be important for those developing support for perioperative coordination.