Patient Safety - Teamwork

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    In healthcare, where the number one cause of medical errors is failed communication, it’s evident that the ability to work as a team and the effectiveness of communication within a team has strong ties to patient safety. Each member of the healthcare team needs to know what needs to happen and when, how to work together toward a common goal, and how to communicate clearly so there are no misunderstandings and no mistakes. Patients and their families need to be part of the equation, too.

    At Stony Brook University Hospital we developed a Crew Resource Management (CRM) training program to improve each team member’s ability to communicate and work more effectively—with one another, with our patients, and with our patients’ families.

    The strategies, techniques, and tools used in our CRM training are rooted in over three decades of research from several other high stress, high risk industries and were  adapted for the healthcare profession by the Department of Defense, in collaboration with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

    Our systematic CRM approach to all aspects of teamwork serves to define what ideal healthcare team behavior looks like. It includes:

    • Clearly defining and standardizing communication among our leadership, staff, patients, and their families
    • Situation monitoring—having a heightened awareness of one’s surroundings by actively observing behaviors and actions to anticipate and predict the needs of our patients.
    • An environment of mutual respect where each team member, including the patient and their family, has an equal voice.

    CRM training means thinking in terms of “we” rather than in terms of “I.”  By improving the performance of the entire team, we improve the level of patient safety we provide to you. 

    We are interested in your feedback and questions. Please send an email to: to let us know if this is helpful, or if you need something you can't find here.

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