Authors: Dr. M. Leonard
Title: The critical importance and effective team work and communication in providing safe care.
Effective communication and teamwork has shown to be very essential for the delivery of high quality safe patient care. Communication failures are extremely common cause of inadvertent patient harm. The complexity of medical care coupled with the inherent limitations of human performance make it critically important that clinicians should have standardized communication tools to create an environment in which individuals can speak up and express concerns, and share common critical language to alert team members to unsafe situations. Effective communication and teamwork should aim at creating an effective common mental model in which every member of the team should be on the page. Equally important is creating an environment that feels safe for team members to speak up whenever they have safety concerns. A good communication network is the one that keep every clinician informed; surprises in medicine are generally not good. The lack of standardized communication and procedures in medicine increases the chances of team members making some deadly mistakes because there is always a limited ability to predict and monitor what is supposed to happen. Many of the current joint commission patient safety standards are aimed at structuring and improving communication in order to avoid some of these mistakes from happening. A large and ever present cultural barrier is the deeply embedded belief that quality of care and error free clinical performance are the result of being well trained and trying hard. Science tells us that the inherent limitations of human memory, effects of stress, fatigue, the risks associated with distractions and interruptions ,and limited ability to multitask ensure that even skilled, experienced...