Multidisciplinary Working in Perioperative Care

Multidisciplinary Working in Perioperative Care – Rapid Research Review

This review explores the benefits of multidisciplinary team working to support people having surgery and the factors that may help and hinder its development and sustainability.

Perioperative care is the integrated multidisciplinary care of patients from the moment surgery is contemplated through to full recovery. Multidisciplinary working, whereby professionals from different specialties and sectors work together to support someone along their journey, is a foundation of perioperative care.

CPOC wanted to explore the benefits of, and barriers and enabler to, multidisciplinary team working. Our rapid review summarises learning from 236 UK and international studies about this. About 13% of the studies were from the UK. To identify relevant research, we searched 14 bibliographic databases and screened more than 18,000 articles available as of June 2020.  

The most important resource in healthcare is our staff, and this review summarises evidence to guide the development of good multidisciplinary teams.

Dr David Selwyn
CPOC Director

This report teases out the ‘ingredients’ for successful team working at system, organisational, team and individual level. In the COVID-era, multidisciplinary perioperative teams can be at the front and centre of supporting staff to deliver the best possible care.


Key Messages

Our review found that multidisciplinary working is worth prioritising. There is evidence that in some cases multidisciplinary working can: 

  • speed access to surgery, if that is an appropriate treatment option
  • improve people’s clinical outcomes, such as reducing complications after surgery
  • reduce the cost of surgical care by helping people leave hospital earlier

However, these benefits are not always apparent. More work is needed to explore which types of multidisciplinary working are most effective and what infrastructure and resources are needed to strengthen and sustain multidisciplinary care around the time of surgery. 

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