Improving nontechnical skills of an interprofessional emergency medical team through a one day crisis resource management training

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Errors are frequent in healthcare, but Emergency Departments are among the highest risk areas due to frequent changes in team composition, complexity and variety of cases, and difficulties encountered in managing multiple patients simultaneously.

Crisis resource management (CRM) training has been associated with decreased error rates in the aviation industry as well as in certain areas of acute medical care, such as anesthesia and emergency medicine. In this study, we assessed whether a single day CRM training, combining didactic and simulation sessions, improves nontechnical skills (NTS) of interprofessional emergency medical teams.

Seventy health professionals with different qualifications, working in an emergency department, were enrolled in the study. Twenty individual interprofessional teams were created. Each team was assessed before and after the training, through 2 in situ simulated exercises. The exercises were videotaped and were evaluated by 2 assessors who were blinded as to whether it was the initial or the final exercise. They used a new tool designed specifically for the assessment of emergency physicians’ NTS. The intervention consisted of one-day training, combining didactic and simulation sessions, followed by an instructor facilitated debriefing. All participants went through this training after the initial assessment exercises.

A significant improvement (P < 0.05) was shown for all the NTS assessed, in all professional categories involved, regardless of the duration of prior work experience in the Emergency Department.

This study shows that even a short intervention, such as a single day CRM training, can have a significant impact in improving NTS, and can potentially improve patient safety.

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