Interventions to improve teamwork and communications among healthcare staff

British Journal of Surgery, 02/11/2011

The evidence for technical or clinical benefit from teamwork training in medicine is weak. There is some evidence of benefit from studies with more intensive training programmes, but better quality research and cost–benefit analysis are needed.

Author Commentary

Dear MDLinx Thank you for asking me to add my commentary. I think the important message of this review is that teamwork training has great promise, but should not be accepted as standard practice without further research using appropriate research methods. The strong evidence that the training improves communication and reduces technical errors suggests that it ought to yield clinical benefit, but there are many examples of interventions which ought to be effective on theoretical grounds, but are not. Teamwork training is potentially expensive, and before committing to it on a large scale we should require convincing empirical evidence of effectiveness - and preferably cost-effectiveness. The fact that there are a number of good quality studies in this review demonstrates that well-conducted trials are possible in this area - and should be encouraged by this evidence of the current state of play.

Print Article Summary