University of Texas Southwestern Uses AHRQ’s TeamSTEPPS® Training to Improve Rapid Response Performance

Patient Safety
January 2016

The performance of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center's (UTSW) rapid response team improved an average of 32 percent across five categories after participation in AHRQ's TeamSTEPPS® training. Gains were shown in teamwork, leadership, situational monitoring, mutual support, and communication.

TeamSTEPPS, developed in collaboration by AHRQ and the Department of Defense, is an evidence-based patient safety training program to improve communication and teamwork among health care professionals. It was piloted at UTSW as part of a clinical safety and effectiveness course. It was also used as a catalyst for patient safety discussions as the Medical Center prepared to transition from St. Paul Clements University Hospital in 2014.

With assistance from UTSW's Hospital Quality Officer, Carol Croft, M.D., UTSW anesthesiologist, and simulation co-director Oren Guttman, M.D., M.B.A., and his simulation team developed an eight-hour TeamSTEPPS training course for the UTSW rapid response nursing team. The course featured high-fidelity simulation, which uses mannequins that can be programmed with vital signs and that respond to interventions. The goal was to empower the rapid response team with a common patient safety language and to enhance communication and cooperation among health care professionals during emergencies.

UTSW began the course by conducting and filming two unannounced code simulations. The films served as baseline illustrations of performance prior to actual training. Participants were then trained in the four core TeamSTEPPS modules. A subsequent training session featured two final codes—also captured on video—and a post-assessment survey.

The course was evaluated using pre- and post-course attitude surveys and blinded review by TeamSTEPPS master instructors of all video recording to assess performance.

Bar chart shows Rapid Response Team Performance Pre- and Post-TeamSTEPPS Training: Team Structure, Pre - 50%, Post - 83%. Leadership, Pre -  52%, Post - 83%. Situational Monitoring, Pre - 48%, Post - 85%. Mutual Support, Pre - 54%, Post - 82%.  Communication, Pre - 52%, Post - 81%.

"Simulation training is among the most effective teaching methods for embedding TeamSTEPPS in an organization," noted Dr. Guttman. "The best way to engage the adult learner is to offer experiential learning opportunities followed by structured debriefing. When participants use various techniques in realistic simulations, they appreciate the power of TeamSTEPPS. We got participants' buy in and motivated them to adopt the TeamSTEPPS tool for themselves."

The charts below show how UTSW training participants' opinions shifted regarding the benefits of implementing TeamSTEPPS.

The charts compare training participants' opinions regarding the benefits of implementing TeamSTEPPS before and after training. The bulk of opinions change from Agree and Neutral to Strongly Agree.

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): TeamSTEPPS®
Topics(s): Patient Safety, Quality, Education: Curriculum
Geographic Location: Texas
Implementer: University of Texas Southwestern
Date: 01/21/2016
Page last reviewed January 2016