Circulation 81,489 • Volume 22, No. 3 • Fall 2007   Issue PDF

Teamwork and Team Training in the Operating Room: Can It Make a Difference in Patient Safety?

Team training is an ideal process to improve communication, which is a vital link in the delivery of safe, effective health care. Therefore, the APSF will co-sponsor a workshop at the ASA Annual Meeting in San Francisco to foster strategies of team training (#817, Monday, October 15, 2:00-5:00 pm, Moscone Center West, Rm 2001). Although a variety of available programs will be discussed, the focus will be introduction of a cost-effective mechanism of team training via a curriculum that is available in the public domain after development by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This unique workshop should attract the attention of anesthesiology clinicians, medical center leaders, and other health care educators and researchers. Experts in the field of patient safety and team training will share their practical experience and identify best practices based on the science of teamwork and training. Those who wish to conduct teamwork training within their own institutions will find the workshop particularly valuable. The objective will be to describe a large-scale DoD initiative to reduce medical error by embracing and applying team training programs. This initiative was developed based on extensive experience gathered during application of this approach for anesthesiologists, intensivists, and other health care leaders.

Experts in the field of team training as well as individuals involved in the development of the curriculum will present their past experience and future expectations for perioperative team training. Background information includes an overview of the military health system and its specific challenges, with insights into how the DoD became a lead organization promoting safer health care. Initial and current DoD team training initiatives will be described, including a comprehensive analysis using case studies. The current program, called “TeamSTEPPS” (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) will be described, along with a review of its strengths and limitations. Course materials are available for public use and lessons learned by the program developers will be reviewed. Attendees will hear the experience at one Midwestern academic medical center (Creighton University) during implementation of TeamSTEPPS. Important elements include benchmarks and measurement tools to determine effectiveness of program interventions. An adjunct to the curriculum highlights how simulation is integrated into team training modules. Practical pointers include a number of “lessons learned” during launch of a large-scale health care initiative from those most familiar with the program. Lastly, issues and questions for future research will be identified with input from workshop attendees. Join us!


  • Robert J. McQuillan, MD, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Anesthesia, Creighton University (moderator)
  • Heidi King, Tricare Management Activity, Office of the Chief Medical Officer
  • Eduardo Salas, PhD, Department of Psychology and Institute for Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida
  • Mary Salisbury, RN, The Cedar Institute, Providence, Rhode Island
  • David Gaba, MD, Professor of Anesthesia and Associate Dean for Immersive and Simulation Based Learning, Stanford University
  • Kim Galt, PharmD, Associate Dean of Research, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions/Director of Creighton Health Research Program, Creighton University

The workshop will be held during the ASA meeting on Monday, October 15, 2007, Moscone Center.