Team Coordination

Team Communication and Patient Safety: In Situ Complexity of Teamwork and Care Processes

Widespread attention continues to be given to the fundamental importance of effective communication for minimizing errors and promoting patient safety within and across multidisciplinary (or interprofessional) healthcare teams. The vast majority of studies, however, do not study communication directly but rely on tools such as checklists, structuration templates, and a range of self-report observations and measures. Knowledge about medical errors is anecdotally rich yet visually inaccessible as a consequence of indirectly accessing communication events and processes. Overlooked are naturally occurring, finely grained, contextually bound, and inherently collaborative social activities comprising daily interactional tasks and procedures co-enacted by team members. Considerable potential exists for utilizing video-based field studies to identify how (or if) in-situ medical errors occur, specific communication practices and social actions comprising errors and their avoidance, and to rely on these digital and transcribed materials when implementing innovative educational and training opportunities.