Why is team communication important in healthcare? The Institute of Medicine reported that 98,000 deaths a year are caused by medical errors, such as the administration of the wrong medication or wrong strength of a medication, with the majority of errors attributed to communication issues. The report noted that if interventions to support teamwork, improve communication and care coordination were adopted and executed, much of the harm that occurs to patients today could be prevented. Adoption of these recommended interventions has been a priority at BH entities, and currently the following are in place.
BH adopted the TeamSTEPPS® model for team communication training in 2006. This model is derived from the military's work, including from crew cockpit communication (also known as Crew Resource Management). TeamSTEPPS® focuses on quality improvement methods, event simulation & education, coaching, safety, and human factors.
- Trainees include all categories of staff (not just physicians and nurses) with a focus on increasing the quality and consistency of communication across diverse specialties of healthcare providers.
- Specific communication tools are used, such as pre-procedure team briefings (e.g., use of checklists before surgery), post-procedure team debriefings (to gauge the quality of communication and any needed improvements), and assertive communication phrases (to clearly signal an immediate patient safety concern by anyone on the healthcare team).
- Departments that have been trained include:
• Labor & Delivery (BMC)
• Children’s Hospital
• Cardiac Catheterization Lab
• Radiology (BFMC)
• Operating Rooms (BMC & BFMC)
• BH Ambulance Service
• Emergency Rooms (BMC, BFMC & BMLH)
• Comprehensive Breast Center
• Baystate Infusion & Respiratory Services
Impact of the teamwork training is determined by pre- and post-survey scores from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s “Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture,” as well as by direct observation. Teamwork training will continue until all clinical departments and areas have received the basics and are able to incorporate key communication interventions and activities into the model of care.
For more information on Teamwork training and TeamSTEPPS®
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For more information on Baystate Franklin Medical Center
For more information on Baystate Mary Lane Hospital