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Semin Perinatol. 2011 Apr;35(2):89-96. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2011.01.009.

Multidisciplinary teamwork and communication training.

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Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Andersen Simulation Center, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA 98431, USA.


Every delivery is a multidisciplinary event, involving nursing, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, and pediatricians. Patients are often in labor across multiple provider shifts, necessitating numerous handoffs between teams. Each handoff provides an opportunity for errors. Although a traditional approach to improving patient outcomes has been to address individual knowledge and skills, it is now recognized that a significant number of complications result from team, rather than individual, failures. In 2004, a Sentinel Alert issued by the Joint Commission revealed that most cases of perinatal death and injury are caused by problems with an organization's culture and communication failures. It was recommended that hospitals implement teamwork training programs in an effort to improve outcomes. Instituting a multidisciplinary teamwork training program that uses simulation offers a risk-free environment to practice skills, including communication, role clarification, and mutual support. This experience should improve patient safety and outcomes, as well as enhance employee morale.

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