Do team processes really have an effect on clinical performance? A systematic literature review

Br J Anaesth. 2013 Apr;110(4):529-44. doi: 10.1093/bja/aes513. Epub 2013 Mar 1.


There is a growing literature on the relationship between team processes and clinical performance. The purpose of this review is to summarize these articles and examine the impact of team process behaviours on clinical performance. We conducted a literature search in five major databases. Inclusion criteria were: English peer-reviewed papers published between January 2001 and May 2012, which showed or tried to show (i) a statistical relationship of a team process variable and clinical performance or (ii) an improvement of a performance variable through a team process intervention. Study quality was assessed using predefined quality indicators. For every study, we calculated the relevant effect sizes. We included 28 studies in the review, seven of which were intervention studies. Every study reported at least one significant relationship between team processes or an intervention and performance. Also, some non-significant effects were reported. Most of the reported effect sizes were large or medium. The study quality ranged from medium to high. The studies are highly diverse regarding the specific team process behaviours investigated and also regarding the methods used. However, they suggest that team process behaviours do influence clinical performance and that training results in increased performance. Future research should rely on existing theoretical frameworks, valid, and reliable methods to assess processes such as teamwork or coordination and focus on the development of adequate tools to assess process performance, linking them with outcomes in the clinical setting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Behavior
  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Data Collection
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Leadership
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Patient Care Team / standards*
  • Research Design
  • Treatment Outcome