The Loud Surgeon behind the Console: Understanding Team Activities during Robot-Assisted Surgery

Judith Tiferes, Ahmed A. Hussein, Ann Bisantz, Justen D. Kozlowski, Mohamed A. Sharif, Nathalie M. Winder, Nabeeha Ahmad, Jenna Allers, Lora Cavuoto, Khurshid A. Guru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objectives To design a data collection methodology to capture team activities during robot-assisted surgery (RAS) (team communications, surgical flow, and procedural interruptions), and use relevant disciplines of Industrial Engineering and Human Factors Engineering to uncover key issues impeding surgical flow and guide evidence-based strategic changes to enhance surgical performance and improve outcomes. Design Field study, to determine the feasibility of the proposed methodology. Setting Recording the operating room (OR) environment during robot-assisted surgeries (RAS). The data collection system included recordings from the console and 3 aerial cameras, in addition to 8 lapel microphones (1 for each OR team member). Questionnaires on team familiarity and cognitive load were collected. Participants In all, 37 patients and 89 OR staff members have consented to participate in the study. Results Overall, 37 RAS procedures were recorded (130 console hours). A pilot procedure was evaluated in detail. We were able to characterize team communications in terms of flow, mode, topic, and form. Surgical flow was evaluated in terms of duration, location, personnel involved, purpose, and if movements were avoidable or not. Procedural interruptions were characterized according to their duration, cause, mode of communication, and personnel involved. Conclusion This methodology allowed for the capture of a wide variety of team activities during RAS that would serve as a solid platform to improve nontechnical aspects of RAS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-512
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • communication
  • flow
  • interruptions
  • nontechnical skills
  • robot-assisted surgery
  • team interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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