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Improving Patient Safety through Effective Team Performance

“Patients and caregivers should not be at risk in the ways they often are now. We are working to radically change healthcare culture and plot a course to zero tolerance for causal factors of error, ”1 Mary Salisbury, MSN, RN, President, The Cedar Institute, Inc., and ISRN Steering Council Member.

Patient safety is a national priority in healthcare as evident by the quote above. Communication failures have been shown to be the leading cause of sentinel events, including preventable patient deaths, accounting for up to 80% of adverse events. Preventable medical errors in US hospitals cost an estimated 98,000 patient lives and $17 to 29 billion each year.

As a result, effective interprofessional teamwork in healthcare is essential to patient safety. Educational resources are needed to enhance teamwork skills in the clinical workforce. One evidence-based solution is a program developed by the Department of Defense's Patient Safety Program in collaboration with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Team Strategies & Tools to Enhance Performance & Patient Safety, TeamSTEPPS®, is designed to improve communication and teamwork skills among healthcare professionals. TeamSTEPPS® is scientifically rooted in more than 20 years of research and lessons from the application of teamwork principles.

“Patient Safety is a team activity. Everyone is responsible, from executive leaders in healthcare to frontline leaders, to providers of care.”1 said
Mary Salisbury, one of the designers of the TeamSTEPPS® training and evaluation methodologies. Rather than simply having safety as a goal, TeamSTEPPS® relies on evidence-based actions, tools, and strategies that deliver safety. Structured communication between team members ensures that everyone reviews the risk for each patient and plans accordingly.

Improving team performance for patient safety is a big priority for the ISRN. The ISRN’s third network study will investigate organizational factors that facilitate TeamSTEPPS® implementation and sustainment. Additionally, the Center for Advancing Clinical Excellence (ACE), which houses the ISRN Coordinating Center, has been offering TeamSTEPPS® master trainer workshops since 2009. As part of the commitment to patient safety, ACE and the ISRN will host a TeamSTEPPS® Master Training workshop
November 5-6, 2015, in San Antonio, TX. Registration for the workshop will open August 2015; if you are interested in becoming a TeamSTEPPS® Master Trainer, visit the workshop website for program information

Do you feel effective team performance is essential for patient safety? Have you attended TeamSTEPPS® training or implemented it at your organization? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.

1Improvement Science Research Network. (2010). Featured Research: TeamSTEPPS. Network News, Vol.1 (1), p3.

* Mary Salisbury, RN, MSN, President, The Cedar Institute, Subcontractor, DoD Patient Safety Program, and ISRN Steering Council Member

TeamSTEPPS® Master Training Workshop

November 5-6, 2015  | San Antonio, TX

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