Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS®) is an evidence-based program designed to improve teamwork and communication leading to a culture of continuous improvement and patient safety. Teamwork and communication is improved by practicing the four teamwork competencies of TeamSTEPPS®:
The healthcare system is complex. Standardising the approach to teamwork and communication can assist in addressing these complexities and have an instrumental role in reducing risk. TeamSTEPPS® supports teams to work dynamically and adaptively, to support shared goals and to become high performing teams.
TeamSTEPPS® was developed by the United States Department of Defense and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and is delivered / conducted in Australia under licence.
The model for delivering TeamSTEPPS® in South Australia has recently been reviewed to improve access and ongoing sustainability of the program. The program is now delivered in a blended learning model that combines e-learning courses with local face-to-face activities supported by a Facilitation Guide.
Improvements seen after implementing TeamSTEPPS®
To date, sites that have implemented TeamSTEPPS® have reported improvements in the following areas:
Patient safety culture
Teamwork and relationships including attitudes towards teamwork and enhanced team behaviours1.
Role definition and clarity2.
Quality of communication and clinical handover, including structure of multidisciplinary team meetings2.
Redistribution of clinical workloads and reduction in observed clinical errors1-2.
Reduction in seclusion rates2.
Reduction in incident reports related to falls, documentation and aggression3.
Reduction (50% - 2.2 days to 1.1 days) in mean ICU length of stay4.
Compliance in timely prophylactic medication administration, reduction of adverse drug reaction and improved medication reconciliation at patient admission and discharge5-6.
National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards
TeamSTEPPS® aligns with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. When implemented and embedded in culture, TeamSTEPPS® assists in the provision of evidence of compliance with these required and valuable national safety and quality measures and promotes a safety and quality culture.
Eleven TeamSTEPPS® e-learning courses are available for SA Health staff participating in TeamSTEPPS®. Seven of these are foundation courses aimed at all staff and an additional four courses are designed for Quality Improvement Team members supporting the implementation of TeamSTEPPS®.
E-learning courses can be accessed by SA Health employees through the Women’s and Children’s Health Network digital media platform.
E-learning courses are designed to be used in conjunction with locally run face-to-face activities.
The implementation of TeamSTEPPS® is supported by a TeamSTEPPS® Facilitation Guide.
Further information is available for SA Health staff on the SA Health Intranet.
1. Morey J, Simon R, Jay G, Wears R, Salisbury M, Dukes K et al. Error Reduction and Performance Improvement in the Emergency Department through Formal Teamwork Training: Evaluation Results of the MedTeams Project. Health Serv Res. 2002;37(6):1553-1581.
2. Stead K, Kumar S, Schultz T, Tiver S, Pirone CJ, Adams RJ, Wareham CA. Teams communicating through STEPPS. The medical journal of Australia. 2009;190(11):S128-132.
3. Safety and Quality Unit. TeamSTEPPS®: Teamwork and Communication: Outcomes in South Australia. Department of Health. FIS: 10006.4. 2011.
4. Pronovost P, Gerenholtz S, Dorman TLK, Lipsett PA, Simmonds T, Haraden C. Improving communication in the ICU using daily goals. Journal of Critical Care. 2003; 18(2):71-75.
5. Award SS, Fagan SP, Bellows C, Albo D, Green-Rashad B, De la Garza M, Berger DH. Bridging the communication gap in the operating room with medical team training. American Journal of Surgery. 2005;190(5):770-774.
6. Haig KM, Sutton S, Whittington J. SBAR: A shared mental model for improving communication between clinicians. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality Patient Safety. 2006;32(3):167-175.
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