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TeamSTEPPS – A Teamwork Training System for Health Care Professionals

An experienced clinician, consultant, researcher, and medical educator, Dr. Paul Barach’s current academic appointments include positions at the University of Stavanger and Oslo, in Norway and University College Cork in Ireland. Focused on patient-centered care, quality improvement, and team training, Dr. Paul Barach played a lead role in developing the TeamSTEPPS healthcare training program.

Based on more than two decades of research, TeamSTEPPS is a teamwork system that seeks to enhance patient care by improving the communication skills and collaborative abilities of health care professionals. The program was designed by the Department of Defense’s Patient Safety Program with the help of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and is currently being implemented at medical centers throughout the United States and in several countries overseas.

Administered in three phases, the award-winning TeamSTEPPS program utilizes a comprehensive training curriculum and ready-to-use materials that can be adapted to fit all medical organizations. The program promotes high-quality patient care by helping to produce medical teams with the ability to resolve conflicts effectively, properly share information, and fully understand each team member’s role and responsibilities.

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Tips for Improving Patient Safety

Dr. Paul Barach has published over 120 medical papers throughout his extensive career. Paul has a proven record of research and scholarship leading healthcare research projects using implementation science methods, with strong quantitative and qualitative skills.

Paul Barach led study with colleagues from Cork, Ireland, on improving clinical performance using rehearsal and Warm-up before procedures prior to performing complex clinical procedures on patients.

Deficiencies in patient safety and quality improvement are increasing concerns with the growing complexity of patient care. Safe medical care requires that complex patient interventions be performed by highly skilled operators (i.e., physicians performing medical interventions requiring technical skills) supported by reliable teams. Operators need to have a low tolerance for error and to be supported by resilient, patient-centered teams in structured microsystems.

Dr Barach and colleagues found that the potential benefits of and optimal techniques for performing physical rehearsal and warm-up have not been established. Preliminary findings suggest that preoperative rehearsal or warm-up can improve the performance
of operators or operating teams, but there is a paucity of objective evidence
and comparative clinical studies in the existing literature to support their routine use.

University Medical Centre, Utrecht – Improving Continuity of Care

A graduate of Hebrew University, Paul Barach, MD, MPH, is a board-certified anesthesiologist and intensive care expert, and guest professor at the University of Oslo in Norway. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Paul Barach led the “Handover” Project, which is focused on improving continuity of care for patients and reducing hospital readmissions.

The project, officially entitled “Improving the Continuity of Patient Care Through Identification and Implementation of Novel Patient Handover Processes in Europe,” was coordinated by the University Medical Centre, Utrecht (UMCU), and funded by the European Commission. The project was based on the notion that gaps exist in patient care when a “handover” occurs between physicians.

For instance, when a patient is discharged from the hospital or is referred to another physician, the receiving physician may not receive a complete picture of the patient’s current state of health, which can lead to mistakes. The goal of the Handover Project is to reduce medical errors and unnecessary treatments that can lead to injury or even loss of life. The organization aims to achieve these goals by evaluating best practices across a variety of settings and standardizing these practices so that communication is improved among physicians and hospitals. See http://www.handover.eu for more information, reports, scientific papers and tools.

Comcare Works to Reduce Workplace Injuries

A well-known researcher and medical administrator, Paul Barach, MD, devotes his time to improving health care and preventing workplace injuries. Currently a guest professor at the University of Oslo in Norway, Paul Barach, MD, MPH, has also served as a senior advisor to the CEO of Comcare in Canberra, Australia.

Comcare is an agency of the Australian government responsible for providing safety, rehabilitation, and compensation services to workers and for managing the workers’ compensation insurance program. The goal of Comcare is to identify strategies to reduce the number of workplace injuries in the country. Decreasing such injuries not only saves people from harm, but lessens the financial costs associated with these accidents and incidents. To reach its goals, Comcare focuses on implementing the Australian government’s federal workplace safety policies.

Part of Comcare’s work focuses on educating managers on how to maintain a robust health and safety culture at their workplace. To achieve a strong safety culture, those in leadership positions must put a clear emphasis on safety and should listen and respond to employee ideas about improving workplace safety. Learn more about Comcare’s work at www.comcare.gov.au.

Collaborative Improves Outcomes for Motor Vehicle Injury Patients

Anesthesiologist and intensive care expert physician, Paul Barach maintains a deep interest in providing quality of care of patients in medical care settings. He previously served as a project leader for the New South Wales Motor Accidents Authority, an organization which provides injury compensation for individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents in New South Wales (NSW). Through this project, Paul Barach led an effort and set up a learning collaborative to improve trauma care delivery and rehabilitation systems for patients who sustained motor vehicle accident injuries.

The Motor Accidents Authority’s NSW Trauma Collaborative brings together stakeholders involved in the patient experience following a traumatic accident. These stakeholders include physicians, policy makers, insurers, and researchers. By creating a collaborative approach, the Motor Accidents Authority facilitates information sharing between multiple systems to support the patient’s journey, from the injurious incident through rehabilitation and recovery.

In addition, the Trauma Collaborative aims to improve communications between care delivery systems to create a less fragmented patient experience. As a result, the Trauma Collaborative can support better interventions for patients and a more positive long-term outcome, which can promote improved re-integration into the community for injured parties.

The Center for Health Design in Concord, California

A medical professional for nearly 25 years, Dr. Paul Barach holds academic and advisory positions in Norway, the Netherlands, and in the United States. The emeritus chair of the Research Coalition of the Center for Health Design since 2008, Dr. Paul Barach has worked closely with national leaders in architecture, engineering, medicine, and design to contribute to the development of evidence based design and high quality healthcare facilities.

Based out of Concord, California, the Center for Health Design was founded on the belief that the design of a health care facility affects patient outcomes. For over 20 years, it has researched the issue while expanding its reach internationally. In addition, the Center partners with nongovernmental organizations, clinicians, and interior designers to learn the best ways to care for patients.

In May 2014, the Center for Health Design introduced its Research Advisory Services Division. Health care groups, design firms, and medical equipment manufacturers approach this department with questions about their plans and designs. Its experts can respond to basic inquiries based on its vast research data or perform extensive, customized investigations into specific issues. Offerings include literature reviews, white papers, and individualized tools. Due to the nuances of this specific area of health care, facilities can improve their services in a cost-effective manner by turning to a team trained in design and health care. For more information, visit http://www.healthdesign.org.

The Annals of Internal Medicine

Dr. Paul Barach is a physician and an educator who currently teaches at the University of South Florida in Tampa, as well as several European academic institutions. An accomplished medical researcher with over 125 published articles to his credit, he has also reviewed the work of many of his colleagues. From 2003 to 2005, Dr. Paul Barach served as a guest editor for the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Established by the American College of Physicians in 1927, the Annals of Internal Medicine has grown to become the leading journal in the world of internal medicine. The publication’s mission is to promote medical excellence, to educate physicians and health care professionals, to advance medical research standards, and to improve the health of people worldwide. 

The Annals of Internal Medicine works toward these goals by publishing a wide variety of original medical research and practice guidelines. The journal also reviews articles and publishes personal stories that express “the feeling and the art of medicine.”

To better serve the needs of medical educators, the Annals of Internal Medicine recently launched a comprehensive Teaching Tools program that includes teaching modules, PowerPoint slide sets, and High Value Care Curriculum resources. To integrate specific journal articles more effectively into the classroom environment, the editors of the Annals of Internal Medicine post detailed tips and instructions on the Teaching Tools webpage.