Team training for healthcare staff can reduce patient death, medical errors

care team

Team training for hospital staff can reduce patient death by 15 percent and cut medical errors by 19 percent, according to a new study.

Team training focuses on cooperation, with each person trained in a specific role and taught to work together, according to an announcement of the study, which was authored by faculty at Rice University, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the University of Central Florida, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. The research will be published in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

The team analyzed the impact of training in team settings on 23,018 people who participated in 129 previous studies, including providers, medical students, nurses and other personnel like clerks.

Healthcare organizations examined in the study saw financial outcomes improve by 15 percent thanks to team training, according to the data. Clinical performance overall improved by 34 percent.

“Team training has the potential to teach individuals how to better communicate, cooperate and resolve conflicts in workplace settings, including healthcare,” study co-author Eduardo Salas, the Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Chair and Professor of Psychology at Rice, said in the announcement.

Training staff members as a team also positively impacted patient satisfaction, according to the study, increasing satisfaction rates by 15 percent. Nearly 20 percent of staffers had a positive outlook on the training; the rest were neutral toward the experience.

Medical errors have a significant economic impact on the industry, Salas said in the announcement, costing between $735 billion and $980 billion each year. Salas said that an error also occurs in one-third of admissions.

Recent study data also suggests that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 250,000 patients a year, FierceHealthcare previously reported, further underscoring the need for initiatives to reduce preventable mistakes.

- here’s the announcement