Development of an observational protocol for reducing and mitigating workload and the risk of Retained Foreign Objects

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Kay, Alison
O'Byrne, Katie
Corrigan, Siobhan
Callari, Tiziana C.
Slattery, Dubhfeasa
Smyth, David
Turner, Michael
Bennett, Deirdre
Logan, Jamie
Cromie, Sam
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Technological University Dublin
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Research Projects
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Retained Foreign Objects are an uncommon but costly problem in today's healthcare. It regards the outcome after an unintended item is left behind in a patient after an invasive procedure. This paper presents the development of an observational protocol used for surgical observations in the FOR_RaM Project. The FOR_RaM or Foreign Object Retention - Reduction and Mitigation project aims to analyze and understand the problem of retained foreign objects in surgery and maternity settings in Ireland, develop hospital specific foreign object management processes and implementation roadmaps, with a focus on reducing and mitigating the risk of foreign object retention. This paper discusses the methodology used for developing an observational protocol as part of a socio-technical multi-methods approach in order to gain a better understanding of the existing practices that take place in these settings, including workload, operational processes and collaboration. Emphasis is placed on the observational template development and design, observational tasks, critical points, procedures and protocols followed throughout. This observation protocol has facilitated the collection of critical data and been successful in identifying good practices and potential areas for improvement.
Observations , Procedure , Protocol , Template , Retained Foreign Objects , Workload , Operational process , Collaboration
Kay, A., O'Byrne, K., Corrigan, S., Callari, T. C., Slattery, D., Smyth, D., Turner, M., Bennett, D., Logan, J. and Cromie, S. (2018) 'Development of an observational protocol for reducing and mitigating workload and the risk of Retained Foreign Objects', H-Workload 2018: 2nd International Symposium on Human Mental Workload: Models and Applications (Works in Progress), Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), The Netherlands, 20-21 September, pp. 154-176. Available at: (Accessed: 26 April 2019)
© 2018, the Authors. This Conference Paper has been accepted for inclusion in H-Workload 2018: Models and Applications (Works in Progress) by an authorized administrator of ARROW@TU Dublin.