An Australian anaesthetist has sparked a global movement #TheatreCapChallenge, encouraging surgical staff to don their names and positions on their scrub caps in an effort to reduce confusion in operating theatres and improve patient safety.
The problem is that clinicians working in these environments often work across many hospitals with hundreds of colleagues; to further complicate things, only the eyes of their colleagues are visible. Clinicians are bound to get people mixed up and precious seconds can be lost when trying to determine who’s who.
The solution: Team members print their names and identities neatly on their paper caps [e.g., Rob, Anaesthetist]. Such a simple idea is aimed at overcoming the bystander effect, pyscho-social phenomenon by which individuals are less likely to take action when others are present. The effect is enhanced when more individuals are present, resulting in greater ambiguity. The #TheatreCapChallenge directly challenges this ambiguity by allowing staff to assign tasks by name and position (in other words, it makes it easy for everyone).
Additionally, the #TheatreCapChallenge adds an element of fun to work. Clinicians can decorate their own caps and it further creates a sense of community among staff. It’s also great for patients as well. According to WHO’s surgical safety checklist, staff are required to introduce themselves before surgery. This movement ensures that step is not overlooked and can be reassuring to patients to know who is operating on them. It strengthens the patient-clinician relationship in a simple way.
Changing behaviour does not have to be expensive or complicated. Sometimes, the simplest ideas can have the biggest impact. As healthcare marketers, how can we challenge ourselves to make life easy for clinicians and patients alike?