Fire in the OR! Predicting Team Breakdown

You’ve seen it before. Your favorite basketball team seems to be on its way to winning the game. Its members are working together flawlessly until all of sudden, a teammate literally and figuratively drops the ball. The team falls apart, it takes them a while to recover, and before you know it--the team loses the game.

What if you could predict when a team is about to fall off the edge and help them recover faster? That’s the idea behind ongoing research taking place at Jump.

Jump is working with Dr. Ron Stevens and Trysha Galloway of The Learning Chameleon to collect brainwave data in hopes of predicting when teams lose their organization, and to minimize the time it takes them to regroup following disturbances in their normal rhythms. One aspect of the study is looking at how a team’s ability to reorganize changes with expertise. The project is called Team NeuroDynamics.

Data-Collection Through Simulation Training

Dr. Stevens and Galloway were recently at Jump for the second round of collecting data.

Surgical team study participants in the Team Neurodynamics study operate on a manikinBack in February, wireless EEG headsets were secured to groups of experienced operating room teams. There were two sessions with the experienced teams, each consisting of four individuals from the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center operating rooms.

One simulation began in the virtual Operating Room with the anesthesia personnel sedating the patient – one of our high-fidelity manikins – for a standard surgery. After the patient was sedated, the circulating nurse prepped the site of the incision.

While this was going on, the scrub tech and surgeon gowned and gloved. After the prep, the patient was draped, and the surgeon began making an incision on a simulated skin plate using an electrocautery unit. Pop! The room was suddenly drenched in darkness as smoke and a flame shot up from the equipment.

As the backup lights kicked on, the surgical team quickly evacuated the patient from the OR. The simulation was over.

The EEG headsets collected brainwave data the entire time as the physicians and nurses went about the simulation.

Now that the Learning Chameleon and Jump have data showing the neurodynamics of experienced health care teams, we’ve moved on to novice learners.

Brainwave data was collected this month from medical students entering their fourth year of study. They were also in a simulated environment, but the scenarios were more in line with their medical education to date.

“What we’re working on is the ability to study trainees in medical school, from practicing to expert,” said Dr. Stevens. “We want to understand how neurodynamic expertise develops, and how these different groups handle these perturbations when they arise. That’s really good for theory building.”

Future of the Team NeuroDynamics Project

The Learning Chameleon and Jump want to determine what leads to teams losing synchronization, neurodynamically, and how far in advance we can predict that a team is about to fall apart. If we can find out when a team is going to lose its rhythm, we can ascertain what it will take to regroup quickly.

The work of this study has great potential to find ways to train more efficiently and effectively, and to learn what methods are going to be most beneficial to retain the skills of medical professionals.

There’s still more data-mining to be done. The Learning Chameleon plans to return to Jump to continue studying health care teams at different levels of expertise. The goal is to eventually have the opportunity to study the brainwaves of operating room teams in the real OR to see if there’s any difference from the simulated environment.

Stayed tuned to our blog as this ongoing groundbreaking research unfolds here at Jump.

Learn more about what Team Neurodynamics means.

Learn more about the Learning Chameleon’s previous visit and the applications of the study.

Categories: Research, Simulation, Team Neurodynamics