BACKGROUND: Important non-technical skills enable operating teams to establish shared mental models (SMMs). The importance of SMMs in regards to surgical performance and peri-operative outcomes remains to be investigated. The aim of this study was to explore whether shared mental models (SMMs) of team resources and the current situation, respectively, were predictive of technical skills, duration of surgery, and amount of intra-operative bleeding in video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).
METHODS: A prospective multi-center observational study was conducted at four tertiary academic hospitals during VATS lobectomy procedures. Data included pre-operative and post-operative questionnaires answered by each of the six team members to measure the SMMs; thoracoscopic video recordings assessed using the previously validated VATS lobectomy Assessment Tool (VATSAT); surgery-related time stamps; and amount (volume) of intra-operative bleeding. Linear regression analyses were conducted to adjust for confounders.
RESULTS: Fifty-eight lobectomy procedures were included. Median (interquartile range) VATSAT score was 33.3 (scale 8-40) duration of surgery 101 min (88-123), and amount of intra-operative bleeding 100 ml (20-150). The mean (± SD) of teams' SMMs of the current situation was 20 (± 5). They were not predictive of the surgeons' technical skills, but every one point increase in SMM score significantly predicted a 1 min 52 s decrease in duration of surgery and an 11% decrease in amount of bleeding. The SMMs of team resources were not predictive of any outcomes.
CONCLUSION: VATS teams' superior SMMs of the current situation related to significantly shorter duration of surgery and decreased intra-operative bleeding, indicating an effect on team performance and patient care.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02999113 at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov .