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Effective teamwork and communication are critical for the safe delivery of health care. The Canadian Framework for Teamwork and Communication is now available as a resource to help decision-makers and healthcare providers select a course of action to support teamwork and communication within their organization. Components of the framework include the following:

  • comprehensive literature review of effective teamwork and communication in Canada and internationally;

  • results of a needs assessment to understand the status of teamwork and communication within Canadian healthcare organizations;

  • review of teamwork and communication training programs, providing a high level overview of the purpose, content, methodology, learning principles, expected outcomes and applicability to the general Canadian healthcare context; and

  • synopsis of key lessons learned through consultation with national and international quality and patient safety experts, for improving knowledge of teamwork and communication in healthcare.

Effective teamwork and communication in safe patient care is an essential and ongoing process. It requires cultural change within an organization to sustain the knowledge, skills and attributes that are the key elements of effective teamwork and communication.  Good communication is defined as the accurate and unbroken transmission of information that results in understanding and teamwork is defined as the interaction or relationship of two or more health professionals who work interdependently to provide care for patients.  This framework is a starting point to encourage conversation that will ultimately transform discussion to action, creating a culture of safety to support the safe delivery of patient care.

The Teamwork and Communication Working Group, comprised of quality and patient safety leaders and experts, was formed in 2009 to develop the framework for effective teamwork and communication to advance patient safety. The Working Group was co-chaired by Jane Mann, Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Consultant, Fraser Health (Vancouver, BC) and Cathy O’Neill, Director of Quality and Patient Safety, Quinte Health Care (Belleville, ON). The Canadian Patient Safety Institute provided secretariat and funding support to the Working Group.

Visit www.patientsafetyinstitute.ca for more information, or click here to download a copy of the Canadian Framework for Teamwork and Communication.