The effects of crew resource management on teamwork and safety climate at Veterans Health Administration facilities

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Communication failure is a significant source of adverse events in health care and a leading root cause of sentinel events reported to the Joint Commission. The Veterans Health Administration National Center for Patient Safety established Clinical Team Training (CTT) as a comprehensive program to enhance patient safety and to improve communication and teamwork among health care professionals. CTT is based on techniques used in aviation's Crew Resource Management (CRM) training. The aviation industry has reached a significant safety record in large part related to the culture change generated by CRM and sustained by its recurrent implementation. This article focuses on the improvement of communication, teamwork, and patient safety by utilizing a standardized, CRM-based, interprofessional, immersive training in diverse clinical areas. The Teamwork and Safety Climate Questionnaire was used to evaluate safety climate before and after CTT. The scores for all of the 27 questions on the questionnaire showed an increase from baseline to 12 months, and 11 of those increases were statistically significant. A recurrent training is recommended to maintain the positive outcomes. CTT enhances patient safety and reduces risk of patient harm by improving teamwork and facilitating clear, concise, specific and timely communication among health care professionals.

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