Objective: This study aimed to determine if introducing nontechnical skills to surgical trainees during surgical education can reduce the operation time and contribute to patient safety. Design: Quality improvement initiatives using the KAIZEN as a problem-solving method. Setting: Department of surgery in a referral and educational hospital. Participants: Surgical team and quality management team. Intervention: The KAIZEN was used as a problem-solving method between 2015 and 2018 to reduce the operation time. First, baseline measurement was performed to understand the current situations in our department. To achieve continuous improvement, periodical feedback of the current status was obtained from all staff. Bundles, including nontechnical skills, were established. Briefing and debriefing were performed by the surgical team. Main Outcome Measures: Excessively long operation rates with a standard procedure. Results: We included 1573 operations in this initiative. Excessively long operation rates were reduced in all types of surgeries, from 27.1% to 15.2% for herniorrhaphy (P = 0.005), 58.3-40.0% for gastrectomy (P = 0.03), 50.0-4.1% for total gastrectomy (P = 0.12), 65.6-45.0% for colectomy (P = 0.004), 67.8-43.2% for high anterior resection (P = 0.02) and 69.6-47.9% for low anterior resection (P = 0.03). The adherence to briefing and debriefing were improved, and majority of the surgeons favored the bundle elements. Conclusions: The KAIZEN initiative was effective in clinical healthcare settings. In the event of scaling-up this initiative, the educational program for physicians should include project management strategies and leadership skills.
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