Team communication with patient actors: findings from a multisite simulation study

Simul Healthc. 2011 Jun;6(3):143-9. doi: 10.1097/SIH.0b013e31821687cf.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergencies
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / methods*
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Patient Simulation*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Safety Management / organization & administration