Health Care Collaboration Could Slash Patient Mortality

Formal training may help health care teams work together more efficiently to improve outcomes.

Due to the current trend towards value-based care, pharmacists have been increasingly incorporated into care teams that treat patients with various conditions. Experts suggest that increased collaboration between multi-disciplinary providers could save lives.

A recent review published by Group and Organization Management found that health care team training may reduce patient mortality by 13%.

The paper examines data and theories about how developing and training health care teams can improve patient outcomes. The authors also discussed why the training is crucial.

"When training is implemented correctly, the result is improved outcomes across the board, both for patients and employees," said author Eduardo Salas, PhD. "The most significant outcome is the reduction of patient mortality by 13%."

Included in the new analysis were 129 previous studies conducted between 2013 and 2017. In total, 23,018 participants from health care teams were recruited.

The authors said that effective team training should focus on skill building, shared leadership across the team, creating an environment that protects the psychological safety of the team, debriefing on situations, and outcomes measurement.

These activities can not only improve patient outcomes, but was also found to improve reaction to patient needs by 18%, according to the study.

The authors found that learning among employees also increased by nearly 30% and clinical task performance improved by 32%.

Both teamwork and clinical task performance improved by 17% and 32%, respectively, according to the study.

Notably, medical errors dropped by 18%, which was likely a contributor to patient outcomes. Additionally, the authors found that training improved the safety climate for patients and the health care team by 11%.

However, the authors said that gaps in understanding and difficulties applying science to practice may present a hurdle to health care teams.

According to the study, to ensure that health care organizations benefit from the collaborative training, they should:

  • Understand situations that may impact training.
  • Understand multi-team systems.
  • Look for alternative ways to implement training, incorporate performance measures, and support multi-disciplinary collaboration to improve outcomes.