Repository logo

Can process mapping and a multisite Delphi of perioperative professionals inform our understanding of system-wide factors that may impact operative risk?

Published version



Change log


Gilder, Fay 
Nourallah, Basil 


OBJECTIVES: To examine whether the use of process mapping and a multidisciplinary Delphi can identify potential contributors to perioperative risk. We hypothesised that this approach may identify factors not represented in common perioperative risk tools and give insights of use to future research in this area. DESIGN: Multidisciplinary, modified Delphi study. SETTING: Two centres (one tertiary, one secondary) in the UK during 2020 amidst coronavirus pressures. PARTICIPANTS: 91 stakeholders from 23 professional groups involved in the perioperative care of older patients. Key stakeholder groups were identified via process mapping of local perioperative care pathways. RESULTS: Response rate ranged from 51% in round 1 to 19% in round 3. After round 1, free text suggestions from the panel were combined with variables identified from perioperative risk scores. This yielded a total of 410 variables that were voted on in subsequent rounds. Including new suggestions from round two, 468/519 (90%) of the statements presented to the panel reached a consensus decision by the end of round 3. Identified risk factors included patient-level factors (such as ethnicity and socioeconomic status), and organisational or process factors related to the individual hospital (such as policies, staffing and organisational culture). 66/160 (41%) of the new suggestions did not feature in systematic reviews of perioperative risk scores or key process indicators. No factor categorised as 'organisational' is currently present in any perioperative risk score. CONCLUSIONS: Through process mapping and a modified Delphi we gained insights into additional factors that may contribute to perioperative risk. Many were absent from currently used risk stratification scores. These results enable an appreciation of the contextual limitations of currently used risk tools and could support future research into the generation of more holistic data sets for the development of perioperative risk assessment tools.



ANAESTHETICS, QUALITATIVE RESEARCH, Risk management, STATISTICS & RESEARCH METHODS, SURGERY, Humans, Delphi Technique, Systematic Reviews as Topic, Consensus, Perioperative Care, Hospitals

Journal Title

BMJ Open

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



National Institute for Health and Care Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)
Wellcome Trust (204017/Z/16/Z)