Table 1

Seven actions to overcome barriers to team communication in healthcare

ActionDescription
Teach effective communication strategiesTeaching structured methods of communication, such as ‘SBAR’ handovers, can improve patient outcomes.
Train teams togetherTeams that work together should train together. Training that includes all members of the team improves outcomes.
Train teams using simulationUsing simulation is a safe way to practice new communication techniques, and it increases interdisciplinary understanding.
Define inclusive teamsRedefine the team of healthcare professionals from a collection of disciplines to a cohesive whole with common goals.
Create democratic teamsEach member of the team should feel valued; creating flat hierarchies encourages open team communication.
Support teamwork with protocols and proceduresUse procedures that encourage information sharing among the whole team, such as checklists, briefings and IT solutions.
Develop an organisational culture supporting healthcare teamsSenior champions and department heads must recognise the imperative of interprofessional collaboration for safety.