Building effective clinical teams in healthcare

J Health Organ Manag. 2012;26(4-5):428-36. doi: 10.1108/14777261211251508.


Purpose: This article aims to review teamwork and the creation of effective teams within healthcare.

Design/methodology/approach: By combining research material found in management, psychology and health services research the article explores the drivers increasing the importance of teamwork, reviews the current knowledge base on how to build a team and focuses on some of the barriers to effective team performance.

Findings: The simultaneous inflation of healthcare costs and necessity to improve quality of care has generated a demand for novel solutions in policy, strategy, commissioning and provider organisations. A critical, but commonly undervalued means by which quality can be improved is through structured, formalised incentivisation and development of teams, and the ability of individuals to work collectively and in collaboration. Several factors appear to contribute to the development of successful teams, including effective communication, comprehensive decision making, safety awareness and the ability to resolve conflict. Not only is strong leadership important if teams are to function effectively but the concept and importance of followership is also vital.

Research limitations/implications: Building effective clinical teams is difficult. The research in this area is currently limited, as is the authors' understanding of the different requirements faced by those working in different areas of the health and social care environment.

Originality/value: This article provides a starting place for those interested in leading and developing teams of clinicians.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Care Team / standards
  • Personnel Management / methods*
  • Personnel Management / standards
  • Quality of Health Care