Why CommiSur?

CommiSur is Communication and Innovation in Surgery. Our lab focuses on the various communication processes in surgical care, both between children, families/caregivers and their providers, and within interprofessional care teams.

But CommiSur is also a misspelled commissure – a connection, bridge, joint between 2 related parts of our anatomy: lips, spinal cord, cerebral hemispheres. Our lab is intentionally situated at the “commissures” in surgical care.

At the commissure between families and surgical providers we are exploring the risk communication process taking place whenever a key surgical decision needs to be made, but also along the entire “journey of surgery”. We explore this space by identifying patient-valued outcomes, communication preferences, and care experiences following surgical procedures in children. We also attempt to modulate and ultimately improve doctor-patient (family-healthcare team, really) communication by exploring technology applications (mobile communication tools and AI). Our ultimate aim is to move communication from its imprecise, inadequate, and one-size-fits-all format into personalized communication tailored to each patient, and ultimately, into precision communication.

At the commissure between various surgical team members we explore the communication processes within interprofessional trauma teams in action. We explore actual and theoretical team communication patterns, aiming to distill the findings into formal communication modules to be incorporated into trauma courses.

And at the commissure between communication and technology, across both major communication domains above, we endeavor to innovate technologically through novel applications of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. This includes machine learning algorithms for rendering risk communication more precise, and virtual and augmented reality for creating low-cost, remotely deliverable immersive simulations for trauma team communication.

Throughout our explorations of communication, both between patients and providers and within teams, we are committed to disseminate our results seamlessly to students and trainees – building a new generation of good healthcare communicators.

Research Across Silos

Israelites were commanded to “glean at the edges” of their fields, i.e. gather all that’s left behind after the harvesting, particularly at the periphery and between neighboring fields.

Makoto Fujimura speaks of the “rich cultural estuaries” where diverse ecosystems mix – and a similarly rich research estuary is found between our well-established academic domains and silos.

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap all the way to the edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the foreign resident… ” Lev. 23:22

CommiSur aims to glean at the edges and explore the estuaries found between clinical medicine and human connection, and between both of these domains and the emerging digital medical world of artificial intelligence and virtual reality.