A multidisciplinary teamwork training program: the Triad for Optimal Patient Safety (TOPS) experience

J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Dec;23(12):2053-7. doi: 10.1007/s11606-008-0793-8. Epub 2008 Oct 2.


Introduction: Communication and teamwork failures are a common cause of adverse events. Residency programs, with a mandate to teach systems-based practice, are particularly challenged to address these important skills.

Aim: To develop a multidisciplinary teamwork training program focused on teaching teamwork behaviors and communication skills.

Setting: Internal medicine residents, hospitalists, nurses, pharmacists, and all other staff on a designated inpatient medical unit at an academic medical center.

Program description: We developed a 4-h teamwork training program as part of the Triad for Optimal Patient Safety (TOPS) project. Teaching strategies combined didactic presentation, facilitated discussion using a safety trigger video, and small-group scenario-based exercises to practice effective communication skills and team behaviors. Development, planning, implementation, delivery, and evaluation of TOPS Training was conducted by a multidisciplinary team.

Program evaluation: We received 203 evaluations with a mean overall rating for the training of 4.49 +/- 0.79 on a 1-5 scale. Participants rated the multidisciplinary educational setting highly at 4.59 +/- 0.68.

Discussion: We developed a multidisciplinary teamwork training program that was highly rated by all participating disciplines. The key was creating a shared forum to learn about and discuss interdisciplinary communication and teamwork.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / standards*
  • Internal Medicine / standards
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Patient Care / adverse effects
  • Patient Care / standards*
  • Patient Care Team / standards*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Program Evaluation / standards*
  • Safety / standards