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Bite-sized success made possible by teamwork, communication

Friday, February 7, 2020
By Mary Kate Llamas
Kyle Rehder, MD

Since 2005, the Duke Center for Healthcare Safety and Quality has offered TeamSTEPPS training, a course designed to improve communication and teamwork skills among health care professionals. Now, they've found a way to bring some of those vital trainings from the one- to two-day courses, to Duke Health team members who can't make the full course.​

Knowing not everyone can leave their department for that amount of time, the team began to brainstorm ways they could effectively reach more people. The solution is a series of five-minute videos, called “Bite-Size Team Training," that can be viewed on the center's website. 

“The teamwork concepts covered in each video aren't difficult, but we want people to learn to practice them routinely," said Kyle Rehder, MD, a pediatric intensivist and medical director of the center. “These are learned skills that can be taught. It just requires being conscious of your words and actions."

The videos were created using the same teamwork skills taught in the full TeamSTEPPS class, but in shorter “bites." The best part is they are available to all Duke Health team members to access whenever they have time.

For Caitlin Daley, director of the Duke Quality System and Care Redesign programs team within Performance Services, the most impactful video was one on feedback and the concept of feed forward. Feed forward is described in the video as using observations to coach someone on future behavior as a way to improve their future performance. 

“To me, feed forward is a good way to describe our journey of continuous improvement and connect with our commitment to zero harm and quality improvement," said Daley. “We should continuously be asking ourselves and our fellow team members, 'What did we learn?' and 'How can we continue to improve the care we provide to our patients?'"

“We know work settings that have positive teamwork behaviors have less turnover, greater worker well-being and higher job satisfaction," said Rehder. “Areas that lack in teamwork can see more medical errors as well as higher infection and mortality rates. Improving teamwork across the organization will enable us to deliver the highest-quality care to our patients and each other."

View the videos