Surgical data recording in the operating room: a systematic review of modalities and metrics

M. Levin, T. McKechnie, C. C. Kruse, K. Aldrich, T. P. Grantcharov, A. Langerman

British Journal of Surgery, znab016



Operating room recording, via video, audio and sensor-based recordings, is increasingly common. Yet, surgical data science is a new field without clear guidelines. The purpose of this study is to examine existing published studies of surgical recording modalities to determine which are available for use in the operating room, as a first step towards developing unified standards for this field.


Medline, EMBASE, CENTRAL and PubMed databases were systematically searched for articles describing modalities of data collection in the operating room. Search terms included ‘video-audio media’, ‘bio-sensing techniques’, ‘sound’, ‘movement’, ‘operating rooms’ and others. Title, abstract and full-text screening were completed to identify relevant articles. Descriptive statistical analysis was performed for included studies.


From 3756 citations, 91 studies met inclusion criteria. These studies described 10 unique data-collection modalities for 17 different purposes in the operating room. Data modalities included video, audio, kinematic and eye-tracking among others. Data-collection purposes described included surgical trainee assessment, surgical error, surgical team communication and operating room efficiency.


Effective data collection and utilization in the operating room are imperative for the provision of superior surgical care. The future operating room landscape undoubtedly includes multiple modalities of data collection for a plethora of purposes. This review acts as a foundation for employing operating room data in a way that leads to meaningful benefit for patient care.