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A systematic review of team-building interventions in non-acute healthcare settings.

Miller CJ, Kim B, Silverman A, Bauer MS. A systematic review of team-building interventions in non-acute healthcare settings. BMC health services research. 2018 Mar 1; 18(1):146.

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BACKGROUND: Healthcare is increasingly delivered in a team-based format emphasizing interdisciplinary coordination. While recent reviews have investigated team-building interventions primarily in acute healthcare settings (e.g. emergency or surgery departments), we aimed to systematically review the evidence base for team-building interventions in non-acute settings (e.g. primary care or rehabilitation clinics). METHODS: We conducted a systematic review in PubMed and Embase to identify team-building interventions, and conducted follow-up literature searches to identify articles describing empirical studies of those interventions. This process identified 14 team-building interventions for non-acute healthcare settings, and 25 manuscripts describing empirical studies of these interventions. We evaluated outcomes in four domains: trainee evaluations, teamwork attitudes/knowledge, team functioning, and patient impact. RESULTS: Trainee evaluations for team-building interventions were generally positive, but only one study associated team-building with statistically significant improvement in teamwork attitudes/knowledge. Similarly mixed results emerged for team functioning and patient impact. CONCLUSIONS: The evidence base for healthcare team-building interventions in non-acute healthcare settings is much less developed than the parallel literature for short-term team function in acute care settings. Only one intervention we identified has been tested in multiple non-acute settings by distinct research teams. Positive findings regarding the utility of team-building interventions are tempered by a lack of control conditions, inconsistency in outcome measures, and high probability of bias. Considering these results alongside the well-recognized costs of poor healthcare teamwork suggests that additional research is sorely needed to develop the evidence base for team-building in non-acute settings.

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