Improving Team Performance and Patient Safety on the Job Through Team Training and Performance Support Tools: A Systematic Review

J Patient Saf. 2020 Sep;16(3S Suppl 1):S48-S56. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000746.


Introduction: Efforts to improve teamwork in health care have received considerable attention. The current systematic review was conducted to identify recent studies that implemented practices to improve teamwork and were associated with positive improvements on the job.

Methods: Electronic searches of 2 databases (i.e., CINAHL and MEDLINE) were conducted to identify relevant articles published between 2008 and 2018.

Results: Twenty articles were selected for inclusion in this review. The studies most often used quasiexperimental designs and interventions were applied in a variety of hospital settings including labor and delivery, operating rooms, and emergency departments. Across studies, measures assessing teamwork skills on the job were most often collected and showed sustained improvements up to 12 months. Moreover, evidence of improved clinical processes (e.g., compliance with guidelines and efficiency) and increased patient safety (e.g., reduction in adverse events) was found in both studies of team training interventions, as well as in those that introduced performance support tools (e.g., checklist).

Conclusions: The results of the current review are consistent with previous research and add to the evidence base on the practices to improve teamwork within hospital settings. Although efforts to improve teamwork have spread to other health care settings such as office-based care, published studies are lagging behind.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team / standards*
  • Patient Safety / standards*