INTRODUCTION: The ability for teams to work together in a coordinated manner may be where the greatest improvements in health care occur in the next generation. To perform at the highest level there are several key principles that all teams must have no matter what playing field they are on, including health care. METHODS: Several resources were used to identify the challenges we face in health care with respect to the delivery of quality care, improving outcomes and decreasing complications. A search of the lay press and scientific literature was evaluated to identify those key elements that lead to improvements in team performance. In addition, personal observations were accumulated with time and examples of strategies used at home institutions were identified. RESULTS: The teams in our pediatric orthopaedic practices are many and include those in the clinic, the operating room, research, and our administrative office. The Institute of Medicine, in their influential article in 1999, defined the alarming rates of complications/harm occurring in the US health care system. In response, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Department of Defense (DOD) collaborated to create the Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS) in 2006. This was implemented in military facilities and later civilian hospital settings with varied success in civilian hospital settings. DISCUSSION: They defined key principles based around team structure, communication, leadership, situation monitoring, and mutual support. Other important foundational attributes of a successful team include identifying the vision of the team, hiring top-talent in the form of hard and soft skills, having open communication, being goal-focused, practicing accountability, and having an organized team. We can look to excellent examples in medicine, business, and sports to see where and how high-functioning teams have existed and to learn from them to implement similar successful teams. CONCLUSIONS: Team performance is a function of talented members who share a common vision, who have the opportunity to voice their thoughts/opinions, and have the ability to be accountable to each other. Surgeons need to lead by example, and provide each member of the team an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way which ultimately will improve the lives of the patients we are honored to care for.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine