The healthcare industry has seen an increase in the adoption of team training, such as crew resource management (CRM), to improve teamwork and coordination within acute care medical teams. A meta-analysis was carried out in order to quantify the effects of CRM training on reactions, learning, behaviour and clinical care outcomes. Biases in the research evidence are identified and recommendations for training development and evaluation are presented. PUBMED, EMBASE and PsychInfo were systematically searched for all relevant papers. Peer reviewed papers published in English between January 1985 and September 2013, which present empirically based studies focusing on interventions to improve team effectiveness in acute health care domains, were included. A total of 20 CRM-type team training evaluation studies were found to fulfil the a priori criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Overall, CRM trained participants responded positively to CRM (mean score 4.25 out of a maximum of 5), the training had large effects on participants’ knowledge (d=1.05), a small effect on attitudes (d=0.22) and a large effect on behaviours (d=1.25). There was insufficient evidence to support an effect on clinical care outcomes or long term impacts. The findings support the premise that CRM training can positively impact teamwork in healthcare and provide estimates of the expected effects of training. However, there is a need for greater precision in outcome assessment, improved standardisation of methods and measures, and more robust research design. Stronger evidence of effectiveness will require multi-level, multicentre, multispecialty and longitudinal studies.
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