Team climate and quality of care in primary health care: a review of studies using the Team Climate Inventory in the United Kingdom

BMC Res Notes. 2009 Oct 29:2:222. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-2-222.


Background: Attributes of teams could affect the quality of care delivered in primary care. The aim of this study was to systematically review studies conducted within the UK NHS primary care that have measured team climate using the Team Climate Inventory (TCI), and to describe, if reported, the relationship between the TCI and measures of quality of care.

Findings: The databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL were searched. The reference lists of included article were checked and one relevant journal was hand-searched. Eight papers were included. Three studies used a random sample; the remaining five used convenience or purposive samples. Six studies were cross sectional surveys, whilst two were before and after studies. Four studies examined the relationship between team climate and quality of care. Only one study found a positive association between team climate and higher quality care in patients with diabetes, positive patient satisfaction and self-reported effectiveness.

Conclusion: While the TCI has been used to measure team attributes in primary care settings in the UK it is difficult to generalise from these data. A small number of studies reported higher TCI scores being associated with only certain aspects of quality of care; reasons for the pattern of association are unclear. There are a number of methodological challenges to conducting such studies in routine service settings. Further research is needed in order to understand how to measure team functioning in relation to quality of care.