Dedicated teams to optimize quality and safety of surgery: A systematic review

C. M. Lentz, R. A. F. de Lind van Wijngaarden, F. Willeboordse, L. Hooft, M. J. van der Laan

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BACKGROUND: A dedicated operating team is defined as a surgical team consisting of the same group of people working together over time, optimally attuned in both technical and/or communicative aspects. This can be achieved through technical and/or communicative training in a team setting. A dedicated surgical team may contribute to the optimization of healthcare quality and patient safety within the perioperative period. METHOD: A systematic review was conducted to evaluate the effects of a dedicated surgical team on clinical and performance outcomes. MEDLINE and Embase were searched on 23 June 2022. Both randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-randomized studies (NRSs) were included. Primary outcomes were mortality, complications and readmissions. Secondary outcomes were costs and performance measures. RESULTS: Fourteen studies were included (RCTs n = 1; NRSs n = 13). Implementation of dedicated operating teams was associated with improvements in mortality, turnover time, teamwork, communication and costs. No significant differences were observed in readmission rates and length of hospital stay. Results regarding duration, glitch counts and complications of surgery were inconclusive. Limitations include study conduct and heterogeneity between studies. CONCLUSIONS: The institution of surgical teams who followed communicative and/or technical training appeared to have beneficial effects on several clinical outcome measures. Dedicated teams provide a feasible way of improving healthcare quality and patient safety. A dose-response effect of team training was reported, but also a relapse rate, suggesting that repetitive training is of major concern to high-quality patient care. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings, due to limited level of evidence in current literature. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020145288.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2022


  • dedicated team
  • operative process
  • quality
  • safety
  • surgery
  • team training

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