Results from an online survey of more than 500 surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists show that those professionals are generally satisfied with the level of communication and collaboration with members of their surgical team, but that increased communication would allow a more collaborative working environment.

These findings are part of OR Xchange, a program funded by Merck to highlight the importance of communication and collaboration at all stages of surgery. As part of the program, an expert panel consisting of surgical and anesthesia experts provided insights on communication and collaboration based on their personal experiences.

“Surgeons and anesthesia professionals understand the importance of communication in the surgical setting,” said Dr. Terri Monk, one of the OR Xchange experts and associate professor of anesthesiology at Duke University. “OR Xchange calls on surgeons and anesthesia professionals to examine their current communication practices and consider ways to elevate their current level of dialogue.”

The OR Xchange expert panel urges professionals in a surgical setting to consider using existing checklists available from select professional organizations listed on Using checklists can encourage greater communication and potentially, an even more collaborative working environment by:

  • Encouraging pre-op assessments that include discussion about the overall patient care plan
  • Establishing checkpoints to streamline communication throughout a surgical procedure
  • Encouraging post-op discussions about patient recovery and management plans

“Surgeons and anesthesia professionals are accustomed to rotating schedules and team members with each new case,” said Dr. David Stein, another expert panelist and associate professor and chief of the Division of Colorectal Surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine. “OR Xchange encourages surgical teams and their institutions to make communication and collaboration a priority.”

To view additional survey findings, visit