Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center Uses TeamSTEPPS To Boost Patient Safety

Patient Safety
August 2016

Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center at Fort George C. Meade in Maryland introduced the TeamSTEPPS® patient safety training program to its 650-member workforce in 2011. By 2015, employee teamwork at Kimbrough had improved by 12 percent.

TeamSTEPPS, developed by AHRQ and the Department of Defense, is an evidence-based system designed to enhance communication and teamwork skills among health care professionals to improve care and patient safety.

"Everyone at Kimbrough—from our surgeons to housekeeping to logistics staff—receives the TeamSTEPPS training. It’s both an ongoing effort and part of our new employee orientation," said Loma J. Lohn, R.N., B.S.N., patient safety manager of the United States Army Medical Department Activity at Fort Meade. The training consists of classroom instruction, videos, and role-playing.

Kimbrough was accredited by The Joint Commission in 2016 for meeting high patient safety and quality of care standards. It was selected as one of the first Army medical facilities in the U.S. Army Northern Regional Medical Command to receive TeamSTEPPS surgical services simulation training because of its exemplary patient safety program, Ms. Lohn said.

"We realize that it can take three to five years to enhance patient safety culture in areas such as mutual support, leadership, communication, and situation monitoring,” she said. “We’re pleased that employee surveys reflect gains in those areas, which ultimately lead to improved staff cohesion and teamwork in caring for our patients."

Based on employee surveys from 2011 to 2015, the three biggest improvements—each increasing by 12 percent—were staff’s ability to anticipate each other’s needs effectively, monitor each other’s performance, and reevaluate patient care goals when conditions changed.

Ms. Lohn noted that one TeamSTEPPS training technique improved communication and teamwork the most. That was the "brief, huddle, and debrief," where medical staff members meet briefly at the start of their work shift to discuss a patient’s condition, meet again if there are changes later on, and then recap the patient’s condition at the end of their shift.

"Both our doctors and nurses found that technique to be very useful, because it sets the stage for their work shift," Ms. Lohn said. "We’ve heard nothing but positive comments about the benefits of TeamSTEPPS training."

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): TeamSTEPPS®
Topics(s): Patient Safety
Geographic Location: Maryland
Implementer: Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center, Fort George C. Meade
Date: 08/18/2016
Page last reviewed August 2016
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