There is growing evidence that teamwork in hospitals is related to both patient outcomes and clinician occupational well-being. Furthermore, clinician well-being is associated with patient safety. Despite considerable research activity, few studies include all three concepts, and their interrelations have not yet been investigated systematically. To advance our understanding of these potentially complex interrelations we propose an integrative framework taking into account current evidence and research gaps identified in a systematic review.
We conducted a literature search in six major databases (Medline, PsycArticles, PsycInfo, Psyndex, ScienceDirect, and Web of Knowledge). Inclusion criteria were: peer reviewed papers published between January 2000 and June 2015 investigating a statistical relationship between at least two of the three concepts; teamwork, patient safety, and clinician occupational well-being in hospital settings, including practicing nurses and physicians. We assessed methodological quality using a standardized rating system and qualitatively appraised and extracted relevant data, such as instruments, analyses and outcomes.
The 98 studies included in this review were highly diverse regarding quality, methodology and outcomes. We found support for the existence of independent associations between teamwork, clinician occupational well-being and patient safety. However, we identified several conceptual and methodological limitations. The main barrier to advancing our understanding of the causal relationships between teamwork, clinician well-being and patient safety is the lack of an integrative, theory-based, and methodologically thorough approach investigating the three concepts simultaneously and longitudinally. Based on psychological theory and our findings, we developed an integrative framework that addresses these limitations and proposes mechanisms by which these concepts might be linked.
Knowledge about the mechanisms underlying the relationships between these concepts helps to identify avenues for future research, aimed at benefiting clinicians and patients by using the synergies between teamwork, clinician occupational well-being and patient safety.