Surgical Specialty and Case Number May Influence Surgeon Workload

Madeline K. Niichel, Bethany R. Lowndes, Anna R. Linden, Renaldo C. Blocker, M. Susan Hallbeck, Katherine E. Law

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Studies utilizing a systems perspective show that individual work system elements impact surgeon workload. However, limited work has shown how multiple elements together can affect perceived workload in the healthcare domain. Using NASA-Task Load Index (NASA-TLX), this study aimed to compare operating room workload across two work system factors (surgical specialty and case number of the day) using a large set of self-reported surgeon workload data. Thirty-two surgeons completed 545 workload surveys across a three month period. Surgeons reported significant differences in composite workload scores across the surgical specialties (F(7,544)=3.622, p=0.001). Significant interactions were identified between surgical specialty and case number for composite workload, F(20,534)=1.72, p=0.027. While such findings are promising, future work is needed across multiple institutions to establish baseline workload values across specialties with different patient characteristics and work systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-682
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019
Event63rd International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, HFES 2019 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Oct 28 2019Nov 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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