Handoffs and the challenges to implementing teamwork training in the perioperative environment


Perioperative handoffs are high-risk events for miscommunications and poor care coordination, which cause patient harm. Extensive research and several interventions have sought to overcome the challenges to perioperative handoff quality and safety, but few efforts have focused on teamwork training. Evidence shows that team training decreases surgical morbidity and mortality, and there remains a significant opportunity to implement teamwork training in the perioperative environment. Current perioperative handoff interventions face significant difficulty with adherence which raises concerns about the sustainability of their impact. In this perspective article, we explain why teamwork is critical to safe and reliable perioperative handoffs and discuss implementation challenges to the five core components of teamwork training programs in the perioperative environment. We outline evidence-based best practices imperative for training success and acknowledge the obstacles to implementing those best practices. Explicitly identifying and discussing these obstacles is critical to designing and implementing teamwork training programs fit for the perioperative environment. Teamwork training will equip providers with the foundational teamwork competencies needed to effectively participate in handoffs and utilize handoff interventions. This will improve team effectiveness, adherence to current perioperative handoff interventions, and ultimately, patient safety.

Journal article

Paquette, Shannon, Kilcullen, Molly, Hoffman, Olivia, et al.. "Handoffs and the challenges to implementing teamwork training in the perioperative environment." Frontiers in Psychology, 14, (2023) Frontiers Media S.A.: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1187262.

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