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Special Issue Call for Papers: Teamwork and Teamwork Training within Healthcare


Group and Organization Management (GOM) will publish a special issue of the journal on the subject of teamwork and teamwork training within the healthcare industry.

Guest Editors: Martina Buljac-Samardzic (Erasmus University Rotterdam) &
Connie Dekker-Van Doorn (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences)

GOM Associate Editor Liaison: M. Travis Maynard (Colorado State University)

Background & Rationale for the Special Issue:
Healthcare is similar to other industries in that it is facing drastic changes to the competitive landscape within which it operates (e.g., Nembhard & Tucker, 2011). However, healthcare is unique from other contexts given the high stakes nature of its customer (i.e., patient) interactions (e.g., Leonard, Graham, & Bonacum, 2004) and severe consequences of human errors. In fact, currently healthcare administrators, leaders, managers, and teams around the globe are under pressure to increase both patient safety and quality of care with less means. More specifically, individual healthcare professionals and groups of providers are asked to accomplish objectives (e.g. improving safety and quality of care, stimulating patient participation, or increasing employee well-being) while at the same time being as efficient as possible (e.g., Ford & Savage, 2008).
These trends are not particularly new within healthcare as the emphasis on patient safety began over a decade ago when the Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System,” suggested that as many as 98,000 deaths occur annually as a result of human errors, such as poor communication and teamwork (Kohn, Corrigan, & Donaldson, 1999). Research suggests that nearly 18% of hospital admissions result in an adverse event and 10% of patients experience an avoidable medical error during the course of their treatment within the healthcare facility (e.g., Seddon, Marshall, Campbell, & Roland, 2001). While troubling, these statistics provide a clear message that the healthcare industry is one in which changes need to occur and a more thorough integration of organizational management theories may assist in the need to enhance patient safety and overall patient experience within the broader healthcare sector. That said; there have been numerous initiatives within healthcare focused on improving the quality of care and patient safety (e.g., Altman, Clancy, Blendon, 2004; Leape, Berwick, & Bates, 2002, Haynes et al. 2011).
Focusing on teamwork can be seen as an important starting point when considering how to shape processes (e.g., communication) and performance outcomes (e.g., safety, quality of care) in healthcare settings (e.g., Leonard & Frankel, 2011). The origins of this focus lies in research that indicated that patient safety errors are often tied to breakdowns in communication among healthcare professionals and a lack of teamwork (e.g., Mishra, Catchpole, Dale, & McCulloch, 2008; Wauben, Dekker-Van Doorn, Klein, & Lange, 2011). In fact, the Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force suggested that an important means by which to improve patient safety is to improve the underlying teamwork dynamics within the healthcare industry. Such a statement has resonated with many healthcare professionals, as most of them work as part of a team in providing patient care.
Accordingly, a great deal of attention has been given to identifying how teamwork can be enhanced within healthcare (e.g., Manser, 2009; Thomas, 2011; Tschan, Semmer, Gautschi, Hunziker, Spychiger, & Marsch, 2006) and the use of teamwork training programs has been identified as an important way in which to improve teamwork in healthcare settings (e.g., Salas, DiazGranados, Weaver, & King, 2008). However, while there is significant interest in this area, there is a need for further empirical considerations of work in this area to truly understand the implications of various teamwork initiatives in healthcare.
Research in this area has also considered mechanisms best suited to train healthcare workers to exhibit improved teamwork behaviors (e.g., Buljac-Samardzic, Dekker-van Doorn, van Wijngaarden, & van Wijk, 2010). In particular, the Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force called for an increased emphasis on the use of Crew Resource Management (CRM) training programs within healthcare. Similarly, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) noted the potential for CRM within the healthcare industry based on its success within the aviation industry. As a result of these recommendations, the use of CRM and other teamwork-related training initiatives within the healthcare sector has become increasingly popular within the last several years (e.g., Maynard, Marshall, & Dean, 2013; Salas et al., 2008). However, unanswered questions remain regarding how best to structure such training interventions to see sustained improvement.
Accordingly, this special issue of Group & Organization Management will focus on teamwork and teamwork training within healthcare and will include the following objectives.

Objectives of the Special Issue:
• Provide insights on the impact that teamwork has within the healthcare industry on a variety of outcomes (safety, quality of care, employee satisfaction, retention, etc.).
• Assess teamwork in a variety of contexts within healthcare (e.g. hospitals, nursing homes, home care organizations, primary care) as well as simulation-based training laboratories (e.g., Rosen et al., 2008).
• Detail various interventions or strategies for improving teamwork within healthcare as many previous studies describe the intervention/strategy too broadly.
• Specifically, work within this special issue could focus on (documenting) the efficacy of various training programs or interventions to improve teamwork within healthcare.
• Present lessons learned within the healthcare industry that are likewise relevant to numerous other contexts that utilize team-based work arrangements.

The deadline for submission is October 31, 2016. Papers to be considered for this special issue should be submitted online via (select “Special Issue Paper” as the manuscript type).

Prior to the initial submission deadline (October 31, 2016), authors who have questions about a potential project, are encouraged to contact one of the Special Issue editors:

Martina Buljac-Samardzic:
Connie Dekker-Van Doorn:

Altman, D. E., Clancy, C., & Blendon, R. J. (2004). Improving patient safety- five years after the IOM report. New England Journal of Medicine, 351, 2041-2043.
Buljac-Samardzic, M., Dekker-van Doorn, C. M., van Wijngaarden, J. D., & van Wijk, K. P. (2010). Interventions to improve team effectiveness: a systematic review. Health Policy, 94(3), 183-195.
Ford, E. W., & Savage, G. T. (2008). Patient safety: State-of-the-art in health care management and future directions. Advances in Health Care Management, 7, 1-14.
Kohn, L. T., Corrigan, J. M., & Donaldson, M. S. (1999). To err is human: Building a safer health system. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Leape, L. L., Berwick, D. M., & Bates, D. W. (2002). What practices will most improve safety? Evidence-based medicine meets patient safety. Journal of the American Medical Association, 288(4), 501-507.
Leonard, M. W., & Frankel, A. S. (2011). Role of effective teamwork and communication in delivering safe, high-quality care. The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, 78(6), 820-826.
Leonard M., Graham, S., & Bonacum, D. (2004). The human factor: The critical importance of effective teamwork and communication in providing safe care. Quality & Safety in Health Care, 13, 85-90.
Manser, T. (2009), Teamwork and patient safety in dynamic domains of healthcare: A review of the literature. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, 53, 143–151.
Maynard, M.T., Marshall, D.A., & Dean, M.D. (2013). Crew resource management and teamwork training in healthcare: A review of the literature and recommendations for how to leverage such interventions to enhance patient safety. In Friedman, L. H., Savage, G. T., & Goes, J. Annual Review of Health Care Management: Strategy and Policy Perspectives on Reforming Health Systems. Advances in Health Care Management, Volume 13: 59-94.
Mishra, A., Catchpole, K., Dale, T., & McCulloch, P. (2008). The influence of non-technical performance on technical outcome in laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Surgical endoscopy, 22(1), 68-73.
Nembhard, I. M., & Tucker, A. L. (2011). Deliberate learning to improve performance in dynamic service settings: Evidence from hospital intensive care units. Organization Science, 22(4), 907-922.
Rosen, M. A., Salas, E., Wilson, K. A., King, H. B., Salisbury, M., Augenstein, J. S., ... & Birnbach, D. J. (2008). Measuring team performance in simulation-based training: adopting best practices for healthcare. Simulation in Healthcare, 3(1), 33-41.
Salas, E., DiazGranados, D., Weaver, S. J., & King, H. B. (2008). Does team training work? Principles for health care. Academic Emergency Medicine, 15, 1002-1009.
Seddon, M. E., Marshall, M. N., Campbell, S. M., & Roland, M. O. (2001). Systematic review of studies of quality of clinical care in general practice in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Quality in Health Care, 10(3), 152-158.
Thomas, E. J. (2011). Improving teamwork in healthcare: Current approaches and the path forward. BMJ Quality & Safety, 20(8), 647-650.
Tschan, F., Semmer, N. K., Gautschi, D., Hunziker, P., Spychiger, M., & Marsch, S. U. (2006). Leading to recovery: Group performance and coordinative activities in medical emergency driven groups. Human Performance, 19(3), 277-304.
Wauben, L. S., Dekker-Van Doorn, C. M., Klein, J., & Lange, J. F. (2011). Participatory design: implementation of time out and debriefing in the operating theatre. Journal of Design Research, 9(3), 220-240.