Crew resource management and teamwork training in health care: a review of the literature and recommendations for how to leverage such interventions to enhance patient safety

Adv Health Care Manag. 2012:13:59-91. doi: 10.1108/s1474-8231(2012)0000013008.


Purpose: In an attempt to enhance patient safety, health care facilities are increasingly turning to crew resource management (CRM) and other teamwork training interventions. However, there is still quite a bit about such training interventions that remain unclear. Accordingly, our primary intent herein is to provide some clarity by providing a review of the literature, in hopes of highlighting the current state of the literature as well as identifying the areas that should be addressed by researchers in this field going forward.

Design/methodology/approach: We searched various electronic databases and utilized numerous relevant search terms to maximize the likelihood of identifying all empirical research related to the use of CRM training within health care. Additionally, we conducted a manual search of the most relevant journals and also conducted a legacy search to identify even more articles. Furthermore, given that as a research team we have experience with CRM initiatives, we also integrate the lessons learned through this experience.

Findings: Based on our review of the literature, CRM and teamwork training programs generally appear beneficial to individual employees, the groups and teams within such settings, and overall health care organizations.

Originality/value: In addition to reviewing the literature that addressed CRM and teamwork training, we also highlight some of the more critical aspects of CRM training programs in order for such initiatives to be as successful as possible. Additionally, we detail various factors that appear essential to sustaining any benefits of CRM over the long haul.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Group Processes
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / organization & administration*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Patient Safety*
  • Quality of Health Care / organization & administration*