Evaluating trauma team performance in a Level I trauma center: Validation of the trauma team communication assessment (TTCA-24)

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Nontechnical skills (NTS), such as team communication, are well-recognized determinants of trauma team performance and good patient care. Measuring these competencies during trauma resuscitations is essential, yet few valid and reliable tools are available. We aimed to demonstrate that the Trauma Team Communication Assessment (TTCA-24) is a valid and reliable instrument that measures communication effectiveness during activations.

METHODS

Two tools with adequate psychometric strength (Trauma Nontechnical Skills Scale [T-NOTECHS], Team Emergency Assessment Measure [TEAM]) were identified during a systematic review of medical literature and compared with TTCA-24. Three coders used each tool to evaluate 35 stable and 35 unstable patient activations (defined according to Advanced Trauma Life Support criteria). Interrater reliability was calculated between coders using the intraclass correlation coefficient. Spearman rank correlation coefficient was used to establish concurrent validity between TTCA-24 and the other two validated tools.

RESULTS

Coders achieved an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.87 for stable patient activations and 0.78 for unstable activations scoring excellent on the interrater agreement guidelines. The median score for each assessment showed good team communication for all 70 videos (TEAM, 39.8 of 54; T-NOTECHS, 17.4 of 25; and TTCA-24, 87.4 of 96). A significant correlation between TTTC-24 and T-NOTECHS was revealed (p = 0.029), but no significant correlation between TTCA-24 and TEAM (p = 0.77). Team communication was rated slightly better across all assessments for stable versus unstable patient activations, but not statistically significant.

CONCLUSION

TTCA-24 correlated with T-NOTECHS, an instrument measuring nontechnical skills for trauma teams, but not TEAM, a tool that assesses communication in generic emergency settings. TTCA-24 is a reliable and valid assessment that can be a useful adjunct when evaluating interpersonal and team communication during trauma activations.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE

Diagnostic tests or criteria, level II.

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