Introduction: Patient satisfaction is an important healthcare outcome and communication with clinical staff is an important determinant. Simulation could identify problems and inform corrective action to improve patient experience.
Methods: One hundred eight randomly selected maternity professionals in 18 teams were videoed managing a patient-actor with a simulated emergency. The trained patient-actor assessed the quality of staff-patient interaction. Clinicians scored teams for their teamwork skills and behaviors.
Results: There was significant variation in staff-patient interaction, with some teams not having exchanged a single word and others striving to interact with the patient-actor in the heat of the emergency. There was significant correlation between patient-actor perceptions of communication, respect, and safety and individual and team behaviors: number, duration, and content of communication episodes, as well as generic teamwork skills and teamwork behaviors. The patient-actor perception of safety was better when the content of the communication episodes with them included certain items of information, but most teams failed to communicate these to the patient-actor.
Conclusion: Some aspects of staff-patient interaction and teamwork during management of a simulated emergency varied significantly and were often inadequate in this study, indicating a need for better training of individuals and teams.