Optimal resuscitation team size for workload distribution among team members is not known. In addition, decision support tools (DSTs) are available to improve team performance, but the effect on workload is not known. Because increased workload can impair performance, we aimed to determine whether team size or use of a DST alters workload in healthcare providers (HCPs) while performing neonatal resuscitation.
We report a substudy of a randomized, 2 × 2 factorial design study using 109 Neonatal Resuscitation Program–trained HCPs. Healthcare providers were randomized to 1 of 4 permutations, including team size of 2 versus 3 and using DST versus memory alone while performing 2 simulated neonatal resuscitations. The HCPs' workload was assessed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index obtained after each scenario. Mixed effects linear models compared the effect of team size and DST use on National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index scores.
When all team members were combined, there was an increased workload in teams of 2 HCPs compared with teams of 3 and was primarily due to an increase in workload on the team leaders. Decision support tool use increased workload for the other team members in the first of the 2 scenarios but did not increase workload in the second scenario.
Teams of 2 HCPs reported a higher workload compared with teams of 3 HCPs. Decision support tool use can increase workload for other team members when first introduced as a new task. This study highlights the need to consider factors that negatively affect mental workload when determining the composition of a resuscitation team.