Surgical team behaviors and patient outcomes

Am J Surg. 2009 May;197(5):678-85. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2008.03.002. Epub 2008 Sep 11.


Background: Little evidence exists that links teamwork to patient outcomes. We conducted this study to determine if patients of teams with good teamwork had better outcomes than those with poor teamwork.

Methods: Observers used a standardized instrument to assess team behaviors. Retrospective chart review was performed to measure 30-day outcomes. Multiple logistic regressions were calculated to assess the independence of the association between teamwork with patient outcome after adjusting for American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score.

Results: In univariate analyses, patients had increased odds of complications or death when the following behaviors were exhibited less frequently: information sharing during intraoperative phases, briefing during handoff phases, and information sharing during handoff phases. Composite measures of teamwork across all operative phases were significantly associated with complication or death after adjusting for ASA score (odds ratio 4.82; 95% confidence interval, 1.30-17.87).

Conclusion: When teams exhibited infrequent team behaviors, patients were more likely to experience death or major complication.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Operating Rooms / organization & administration
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgery Department, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • United States
  • Young Adult