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Med Care Res Rev. 2009 Dec;66(6 Suppl):5S-35S. doi: 10.1177/1077558709343295. Epub 2009 Aug 19.

Review article: Effectiveness of patient care teams and the role of clinical expertise and coordination: a literature review.

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Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Health care is increasingly provided by teams of health professionals rather than by individual doctors. For decision makers, it is imperative to identify the critical elements for effective teams to transform health care workplaces into effective team-based environments. The authors reviewed the research literature published between 1990 and February 2008. The available research indicated that teams with enhanced clinical expertise improved professional performance and had mixed effects on patient outcomes. Teams with improved coordination had some positive effects on patient outcomes and limited effects on costs and resource utilization. The combination of enhanced expertise and coordination only showed some limited effect on patient outcomes. The authors conclude that enhancement of the clinical expertise is a potentially effective component of improving the impact of patient care teams. The added value of coordination functions remained unclear. Overall, current studies provide little insight into the underlying mechanisms of teamwork.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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