The science behind clinical team performance
The case is clear: The coordination and delivery of safe, high-quality care demands reliable teamwork and collaboration within—as well as across—organizational, disciplinary, technical, and cultural boundaries.1 Studies are increasingly linking the quality of teamwork to the quality and safety of healthcare delivery.2
Most of the research in this area has focused on a) quality, which is the degree to which patients receive treatment consistent with current guidelines and professional knowledge, b) safety of care to minimize risk of preventable patient harm, c) patient experience, expressed as self-reported outcomes, and d) clinical patient outcomes.
Teamwork and care team member wellbeing
A growing body of work also shows that while effective teams not only protect patients from risks and improve outcomes, they also create a more positive, engaging, and resilient workplace for care team members.
Hospitals reporting high levels of teamwork, with clear roles and mindful management of interdependencies, have lower rates of workplace injuries and illness, fewer experiences of workplace harassment and violence, as well as lower levels of staff intent to leave the organization.3 The teamwork climate of a work unit also correlates with the level of engagement that staffs feel in their work. Units with a climate of positive teamwork have staff with a strong commitment to, and sense of, ownership over their job responsibilities.4