Objectives: To review the literature on interventions to improve team effectiveness and identify their 'evidence based'-level.
Methods: Major data bases (PubMed, Web of Science, PsycInfo and Cochrane Library) were systematically searched for all relevant papers. Inclusion criteria were: peer-reviewed papers, published in English between January 1990 and April 2008, which present empirically based studies focussing on interventions to improve team effectiveness in health care. A data abstraction form was developed to summarize each paper. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation Scale was used to assess the level of empirical evidence.
Results: Forty-eight papers were included in this review. Three categories of interventions were identified: training, tools, and organisational interventions. Target groups were mostly multidisciplinary teams in acute care. The majority of the studies found a positive association between the intervention and non-technical team skills. Most articles presented research with a low level of evidence. Positive results in combination with a moderate or high level of evidence were found for some specific interventions: Simulation training, Crew Resource Management training, Team-based training and projects on Continuous quality improvement.
Conclusions: There are only some studies available with high quality evidence on interventions to improve team effectiveness. These studies show that team training can improve the effectiveness of multidisciplinary teams in acute (hospital) care.