Unit 4: Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety: TeamSTEPPS

This unit is focused upon the, “TeamSTEPPS,” methodology. This methodology, initially used by the Department of Defense to assist with coordination of military teams, was adapted (with the assistance of the Agency for Healthcare Quality & Research) for use in clinical environments. The goal of TeamSTEPPS is to improve teaming skills, enhance communication across provider teams, and to seed a fundamental culture change – all in the quest to improve patient outcomes. The material in this unit is based very heavily on the TeamSTEPPS materials which can be found on the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research website. Some adaptation has been made (and noted) in order to apply TeamSTEPPS more directly to health IT teams. The point made repeatedly in this unit is that even though TeamSTEPPS is focused upon clinical teams in clinical environments, these techniques were conceived on the battlefield.  Therefore, many of the concepts and skills learned in prior units will reappear in TeamSTEPPS, reinforcing the point that the foundations of high performing teams are similar regardless of where they are applied. Various tools and techniques are presented from the TEAMSTEPPS toolkit with suggestions for how these approaches can be adapted for use in health IT teams.