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Team-Trained Health Care Staff Can Reduce Patient Deaths by 15 Percent

(Rice University) Team training of health care employees can reduce patient mortality by 15 percent, according to a new study from Rice University, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the University of Central Florida, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.
"Saving Lives: A Meta-Analysis of Team Training in Health Care" found that team training can also reduce medical errors by 19 percent. Team training is an instructional strategy aimed at improving team-based knowledge, skills, attitudes and problem-solving interactions. It focuses on developing coordination, cooperation, communication, leadership and other team-based skills. Team members train in specific roles while performing specific tasks and interact or coordinate to achieve a common goal or outcome.
"Medical error has an estimated economic impact between $735 billion to $980 billion annually in the United States alone," said Eduardo Salas, the Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Chair and Professor of Psychology at Rice and one of the study's authors. "In addition, estimates indicate that preventable medical errors occur in one out of every three hospital admissions. The evidence is clear: Medical error causes patient harm, and much of this error is preventable. Team training is one possible way to prevent such errors from ever happening."
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