Ann Blackford

By

College: Medicine

UK Study Looks at How OR Noise Impacts Communication and Safety

Published: May 22, 2013

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2013) − In a recently published study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, researchers from the University of Kentucky found that ambient background noise - whether it is the sound of loud surgical equipment, talkative team members, or music - is a patient and surgical safety factor that can affect auditory processing among surgeons and the members of their team in the operating room (OR).

 

The findings are the first to demonstrate that a surgeon's ability to understand spoken words in the OR is directly affected by noise in the environment.

 

“The operating room is a very fast-paced, high-demand, all senses running on all cylinders type of environment,” said study co-author Dr. Matthew Bush, assistant professor of Surgery in the Division of Otology, Neurology, and Cranial Base Surgery at the UK College of Medicine.  “To minimize errors of communication, it is essential that we consider very carefully the listening environment we are promoting in the OR.”

 

To assess the effects of ambient noise on communication in the OR, the researchers created a noise environment similar to that of an OR and tested 15 surgeons with one to 30 years of operating experience.  The surgeons’ ability to understand and repeat words was tested using the Speech In Noise Test-Revised (SPIN-R) under four different listening conditions typical of OR environments.  These conditions included quiet, filtered noise through a surgical mask and background noise both with and without music.  Subjects were tested in two situations: engaged in a specific surgical task and task free.

 

The study showed a significant decrease in speech comprehension with the presence of background noise when the words were unpredictable.  In addition, the surgeons demonstrated considerably poorer speech comprehension in the presence of music compared with a quiet environment or one with OR noise present.  However, the addition of music became a significant barrier to speech comprehension only when the surgeon was engaged in a task.

 

The researchers concluded that OR noise can cause a decrease in auditory processing, particularly in the presence of music.  Further, the ability to understand what is being said becomes even more difficult when the conversations carry critical information that is unpredictable.

 

Currently, miscommunication is one of the most frequently cited causes of preventable medical errors.  For this reason, there is a growing interest in identifying overlooked variables that can lead to communication breakdowns among health care professionals.

 

Therefore, these study results have important implications in the real world because surgical teams carry on critical conversations during surgical procedures that often include discussions about medications and dosing as well as the blood supply that should be on hand.  Because some of these details might sound similar, clear communication is crucial to avoiding medical errors (i.e.: a request for the drug heparin might be heard as Hespan).

 

 “Our main goal is to increase awareness that operating room noise does affect communication and that we should foster the best environment in which we can communicate better,” Bush said.  “This effort means that the surgical team needs to work diligently to create the safest environment possible, and that step may mean either turning the music off or down, or limiting background conversations or other things in the environment that could lead to communication errors and medical mistakes.”

 

In future studies, the researchers plan to look at a larger population of surgeons, especially those who are hearing impaired, as well as other operating team members such as anesthesiologists and nurses.

 

“I think it’s important to demonstrate the effect of environmental operating noise on communication on a variety of different players in the operating room setting,” Bush said.  “Another step from here is to not only see how noise affects our understanding of speech, but how it affects our tasks, how it affects our ability to perform surgical procedures efficiently and effectively.  That is a different stage and different study design completely, but these questions are all ahead of us as we investigate the effects of environmental sound on operating room communication.”

 

About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients.  The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery.  Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients.  The College has more than 79,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.  For more information, visit www.facs.org.

 

Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or ann.blackford@uky.edu 

matthew_bush.jpg
February
 
1
Graduate Student Congress Meeting (February)
Mon
2
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Tue
3
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Wed
4
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Thu
5
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Off-Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #1
Panel Discussion: Historic Homes
Fri
6
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sat
7
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
8
K Crew Recruitment
Sex and Chocolate
Law School Prep Workshop
Mon
9
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Healthy Relationships Workshop
How to Package Communication and Technical Skills on your Resume
2016 Distinguished Industry Lecture Series
Tue
10
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Last Day to Receive 50% Refund
Pinterest Party #1
Get Yourself Tested!
Off-Campus Student Association Information Session
Showcase your Talents: Building a Strong Portfolio
An Evening with Tatyana Ali and Amir Windom: Progression Towards Success
How to Survive a Plague
Wed
11
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Coffee & Canvases
Off-Campus Student Association Information Session
Study Abroad in Berlin!
Horticulture Club Valentine's Day Sale
Thu
12
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Horticulture Club Valentine's Day Sale
Ash and the Market: Ceramic Exchange, Political Economy, and the Late to Terminal Classic Transformation of the Kiuic Polity
Fri
13
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Learn to Play Bridge
Workshop: The Artist Statement
Sat
14
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
15
K Crew Recruitment
See ICT
Patterson School Guest Speaker Series
Mon
16
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
See ICT
UK Women's Forum February Board Meeting
Tue
17
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Food For Thought
Wed
18
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Soup & Substance: Real Talk, Real Issues, & Real People Series
Thu
19
PharmD Interviews
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Off-Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #2
SAB Underground Formal
Fri
20
PharmD Interviews
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sat
21
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
22
Undergraduate Research Information Session
University Health Service- Let It Go
Monday Night Mingle
Mon
23
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
University Health Service- Know Your Numbers
University Health Service- Mindful Eating
Tue
24
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Don't Blame It On Aging
Ravi Zacharias at Memorial Coliseum
Wed
25
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Thu
26
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Explore Blue
Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference
Eday Talk by Georgetown Toyota President Wil James
Do What You Are: Connecting Personalities w/ Profession
Off- Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #3
Traditions and Transformations in Tz’utujil Territory, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, 500 BC – 1524 AD
Concert in the Museum: Central Music Academy
Fri
27
Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
UK E-Day
Pre-Opera Dinner
Sat
28
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
DanceBlue Rave Hour
Sun
29
Monday through Friday - Midterm Grading window is open. The mid-term grading window will close at midnight on March 11.
Monday through Wednesday - Students are prohibited from changing academic major
Bodies Of Evidence: Provocations: A Transnational Feminist History Project
Monday Night Mingle
Mon
 
 
 
 
 
Feb 13
Bill Adams: Blue Madness 02/13/2016

Repeats every day on January, February, March, April every Sunday and every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday until Mon Apr 04 2016 .
Sun, 02/14/2016

Repeats every day on January, February, March, April every Sunday and every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday until Sun Apr 03 2016 .
Sun, 02/14/2016

Mon, 02/15/2016

Repeats every day on January, February, March, April every Sunday and every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday until Mon Apr 04 2016 .
Tue, 02/16/2016

Reset Page