JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Teamwork and communication in surgical teams: implications for patient safety

Peter Mills, Julia Neily, Ed Dunn
Journal of the American College of Surgeons 2008, 206 (1): 107-12
18155575

BACKGROUND: As part of a national program in the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve communication within the health-care environment, the Medical Team Training questionnaire was developed to assess organizational culture, communication, teamwork, and awareness of human factors engineering principles.

STUDY DESIGN: The Medical Team Training questionnaire was pilot tested with 300 health-care clinicians. The final version of the Medical Team Training questionnaire was administered to an interdisciplinary group of 384 surgical staff members in 6 facilities as part of the Medical Team Training pilot project in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

RESULTS: The results revealed a pattern of discrepancies among physicians and nurses in which surgeons perceive a stronger organizational culture of safety, better communication, and better teamwork than either nurses or anesthesiologists do.

CONCLUSIONS: The Medical Team Training questionnaire was helpful in identifying hidden problems with communication before formal team training learning sessions, and it will be useful in focusing efforts to improve communication and teamwork in the operating room.

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