Implementation of Crew Resource Management: A Qualitative Study in 3 Intensive Care Units

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Abstract

Objectives

Classroom-based crew resource management (CRM) training has been increasingly applied in health care to improve safe patient care. Crew resource management aims to increase participants' understanding of how certain threats can develop as well as provides tools and skills to respond to such threats. Existing literature shows promising but inconclusive results that might be explained by the quality of the implementation. The present research systematically describes the implementation from the perspective of 3 trained intensive care units (ICUs).

Methods

The design of the study was built around 3 stages of implementation: (1) the preparation, (2) the actions after the CRM training, and (3) the plans for the future. To assess all stages in 3 Dutch ICUs, 12 semistructured interviews with implementation leaders were conducted, the End-of-Course Critique questionnaire was administered, and objective measurements consisting of the number and types of plans of action were reported.

Results

The results categorize initiatives that all 3 ICUs successfully launched, including the development of checklists, each using a different implementation strategy. All ICUs have taken several steps to sustain their approach for the foreseeable future. Three similarities between the units were seen at the start of the implementation: (1) acknowledgment of a performance gap in communication, (2) structural time allocated for CRM, and (3) a clear vision on how to implement CRM.

Conclusions

This study shows that CRM requires preparation and implementation, both of which require time and dedication. It is promising to note that all 3 ICUs have developed multiple quality improvement initiatives and aim to continue doing so.

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