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From June–October 2014 the Health Quality & Safety Commission worked with Waikato and Lakes district health boards (DHBs) and Southern Cross Auckland Surgical Centre on a proof of concept project, testing approaches to improve teamwork and communication in operating theatres.

The proof of concept allowed the Commission to test ways of introducing the clinical tools and behavioural change that work for New Zealand hospitals. Drawing from international experience and the advice of an expert advisory group, a package of interventions was developed, made up of the following evidence-based components:

  • surgical team briefings
  • paperless surgical safety checklist (based on the WHO Checklist, modified for the New Zealand context)
  • debriefings
  • supporting communication tools, such as ISBAR (identify, situation, background, assessment, recommendation) and closed loop feedback.

These interventions were trialled during the proof of concept project, with positive results. Participants reported efficiency gains as a result of using briefing and debriefing, increased buy-in to, and more appropriate use of, the paperless checklist and improved teamwork and communication in surgical teams.

Read the final report from the proof of concept project.

Frequently asked questions about the proof of concept project

Frequently asked questions

Last updated: 13th November 2021