Communication and Errors in the Perioperative Area

What is the PICOT question?

In all surgical patients and perioperative staff (P), will the implementation of a standardized communication tool (I), compared to current “cheat sheets used” (C), reduce patient errors in the perioperative area (O) in a 30-day period?

Define each element of the question below:

  • P- (Patient, population, or problem): In all surgical patients and perioperative staff,
  • I- (Intervention): the implementation of a standardized communication tool
  • C- (Comparison with other treatment/current practice): current “cheat sheets used”
  • O- (Desired outcome): reduce patient errors in the perioperative area
  • T- (Time Frame): 30 days

What is the practice issue/problem? What is the scope of the issue? What is the need for change?

The scope of the issue is as follows. The lack of effective communication in health care settings leads to medical errors and the resulting mortality and morbidity (Garrett, 2016). Also, McDougall (2017) investigates standardized communication as a tool for improving patient safety in the PACU, and the research proves the effectiveness of this approach. At the same time, researches prove that productive communication can improve patient safety and provides grounds for efficient teamwork of healthcare professionals. Thus, the practice issue under consideration is the implementation of a standardized communication tool, which can reduce patient errors in the perioperative area. It is necessary to change the existing “cheat sheets” applied in healthcare practice because standardized communication tools are expected to be more effective and lead to better patient outcomes.

What is the practice area?

  • Clinical
  • Education

How was the practice issue identified?

  • Safety/risk management concerns
  • Unsatisfactory patient outcomes
  • Clinical practice issue is a concern

What evidence must be gathered? (Identifies and documents four sources of evidence. Describes rationale for all checked types of evidence)

It is necessary to conduct a literature search to reveal the existing evidence of using standardized communication tools in different healthcare settings. It is also important to review the guidelines for staff communication and standards regulating the quality of care for patients in perioperative units.

  • Literature search
  • Guidelines
  • Standards (Regulatory, professional, community)

Search terms/How to narrow the search?

Standardized communication, communication tool, perioperative area, perioperative staff, patient errors reduction

Application of databases, use the list of keywords, use quotation marks, filters to select scholarly journal articles, and filters to limit the search to the articles issued within the last five years.


Garrett, J. (2016). AORN Journal, 104, 112-117. Web.

McDougall, L. (2017). Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing, 32(4), e18-e19. Web.

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