May 15, 2024

Study: Surgical team diversity improves patient outcomes

Editor's Note

The more diverse the surgical team, the better the outcomes for patients and the lower the cost of care, according to a study of more than 700,000 operations at 88 hospitals in Ontario, Canada.

Published May 15 in the British Journal of Surgery, findings show that surgeon-anesthetist teams consisting of more than 35% women demonstrated a 3% reduction in the odds of 90-day postoperative major morbidity. this association was even stronger when procedures involved female surgeons or anesthetists.

“The main takeaway for clinical practice and health policy is that increasing operating room teams’ sex diversity is not a question of representation or social justice, but an important part of optimizing performance,” researchers wrote. “Healthcare institutions should intentionally foster sex diversity in operating room teams to potentially reduce major morbidity, which, in turn, can enhance patient satisfaction and reduce costs.”

One limitation of the study is that the data did not include gender as a social construct, according to the University of Toronto, which led the study. “It is possible that gender roles, behaviours, and attitudes would have influenced the strength of the association. The researchers said further research is also needed to explore diversity based on other sociodemographic variables, including but not limited to, race and ethnicity. Nevertheless, this study is the first to show a robust association between team sex diversity, better patient outcomes, and higher quality care.”


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