Military, aviation and health care professionals share a crucial responsibility: Lives depend on how they function and perform as a team. Now, the UF Health Sebastian Ferrero Office of Clinical Quality and Patient Safety is adopting a team-based training system tailored to high-risk industries.
A program originally created by the U.S. Department of Defense is now being used at UF Health to improve teamwork and enhance patient safety. The program, called TeamSTEPPS, is sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and draws on decades of military and aerospace research as well as analysis of highly reliable, effective processes. Many health care systems use it to improve patient care.
“We wanted a framework upon which we could build team-based care,” said Debbie Lynn, UF Health Quality and Patient Safety quality and accreditation director. “Right now, we’re focused
on providing training to interested faculty and staff who will use some of the methodologies in their areas of service.”
At its core, TeamSTEPPS teaches professionals to work effectively as a team to provide a safe, seamless experience for patients and their families.
“The underlying principles of TeamSTEPPS synchronize extraordinarily well with the goals outlined in UF Health’s new strategic plan, The Power of Together,” said Charles Crescioni, B.S.N., R.N., UF Health Quality and Patient Safety senior quality improvement specialist. “We’re using TeamSTEPPS as one way to uniformly integrate and optimize those efforts to improve how we work together.”
Its fundamentals include leadership, communication, supportive behavior, performance monitoring and patient-centered care — themes that are part of The Power of Together.
The UF Health Office of Interprofessional Education is working with the UF Health Sebastian Ferrero Office of Clinical Quality and Patient Safety in offering the training sessions to Health Science Center faculty. The goal is for academic programs, along with the office’s interprofessional education activities, to fuse TeamSTEPPS theories into their curricula. As a result, students are equipped with fundamental teamwork skills as they transition into a clinical environment.
Notably, the UF Interdisciplinary Family Health Program incorporated some of the basic concepts, such as mutual support and closed-loop communication, and tailored them to student activities this year. The course pairs first-year health professions students from different colleges with Alachua County residents to provide resource support in their homes.
“My colleagues and I began to realize that maybe we were taking for granted that students know good teamwork skills,” said Amy V. Blue, Ph.D., associate vice president for interprofessional education in the UF Health Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and associate dean for educational affairs at the College of Public Health and Health Professions. “Great teamwork leads to better patient care — that’s why TeamSTEPPS is part of our students’ educational tool kit.”
Students learn how to translate skills and fundamental themes into successful patient outcomes: establishing mutual trust, accurately exchanging information, providing feedback and linking every team member’s role.
Lynn said, “TeamSTEPPS gives health care professionals the tools and knowledge to enhance our patient-centered, interdisciplinary care.”
UF Health faculty, staff and students can get more information by contacting Charles Crescioni at firstname.lastname@example.org.