Conceptualising and measuring teamwork

Readers will know that the CLAHRC WM Director is interested in, and a little sceptical of, the utility of constructs describing latent properties of health care organisations ­– culture, for example. Teamworking is such a construct that is hard to pin down and, for that reason, hard to measure. Those who want to go beyond sound-bite management and slogans are encouraged to read a scholarly article by Deitz et al.[1] The article resists a succinct summary, save to say that teamwork is probably most important in scenarios that really are team based (for example, advanced life support), compared to those that turn on the cognitive excellence of individuals (for example, diagnosis). Certainly, the construct appears to be more useful in the cockpit than the admissions ward, and we should not think of teamwork as some kind of panacea. Individual relationships and the ability of expert clinicians to spot things that are not obvious, remain key qualities.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Deitz AS, Pronovost PJ, Benson KN, Mendez-Tellez PA, Dwyer C, Wyskiel R, Rosen MA. A systematic review of behavioural marker systems in healthcare: what do we know about their attributes, validity and application. BMJ Qual Saf. 2014; 23:1031-1039.



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