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Innovation at Work: Part Two

 
SIOP Members Receive Innovative Practice Award From APA
 
By Stephany Schings, Communications Specialist
 
SIOP members David P. Baker and Christina Banks have recently been selected to receive Innovative Practice Award Presidential Citations from the American Psychological Association (APA) for their outstanding and creative work in the application of psychology in consulting. 
 
The two were nominated by SIOP (Division 14 of APA), Banks through SIOP Member Joan Brannick and Baker through SIOP Member Alex Alonso. The award winners will be featured in the September edition of the Monitor on Psychology.
 

Read a profile of winner David P. Baker below. To read a profile of winner Christina Banks from last week,visit the SIOP Web here!
 
 
David P. Baker: Using Teamwork to Make Patients Safer
 
Approximately 100,000 people die each year because of mistakes in hospitals, said SIOP Member David P. Baker. But Baker is working to counteract one of the factors that lead to these deaths—lack of teamwork in healthcare.
 
According to Baker, teamwork behavior –communication, leadership, situation monitoring, and mutual support—is an important factor in ensuring the safety of patients in a healthcare situation.
 
“If you look at sentinel events, the really bad things that happen in hospitals, the number one root cause is poor communication,” Baker said of the problem of teamwork. “So it’s a big factor in delivering safe healthcare.”
 
To help increase teamwork behavior and make medical facilities safer for patients, Baker has worked to bring teamwork into healthcare by developing an innovative program called
TeamSTEPPS™ (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety), released by the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality (AHRQ) as public domain curriculum and the national standard for team training in healthcare.
 
In 2003, Baker, who has 20 years of experience in teamwork and team training, and his team at the American Institutes for Research were awarded a contract from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to study teamwork in healthcare.
 
By 2001, the Department of Defense had already launched team training for healthcare workers at a number of DOD Military Treatment Facilities, Baker explained. So a key task of that initial project was to complete a best practice analysis of three existing medical team training programs in the DOD. The results from this effort led to the development of the TeamSTEPPS program, he said.
 
“On the basis of the work my team and I completed, AHRQ and the DOD wanted to build a new improved team training curriculum or resource kit that hospitals could use to enhance teamwork among their staff,” Baker explained. AHRQ and DOD also wanted this toolkit to be in the public domain, so anybody could access this resource free of charge; that’s how TeamSTEPPS came about.”
 
TeamSTEPPS teaches four core teamwork skills: leadership, situation monitoring, mutual support, and communication as well as a set of tools to support teamwork in an institution. These include such tools as how to conduct effective team briefs, how to debrief team performance, and how to communicate critical information within the team, to name a few.  
 
“We also spend a great deal of time on how to implement these tools and strategies and how to sustain the changes within an organization,” Baker said. “As most SIOP members would tell you, you don’t just send someone to training and then they are trained. There is a whole bunch of other things that go on both before training and after to make sure it sticks.  It’s more than just going through a training course. It’s more about changing the culture in these organizations.”
 
TeamSTEPPS had its first class in January of 2008 as part of AHRQ’s effort to spread the program nationally. Approximately 1,000 people have gone through so far, Baker said. These individuals are trained at one of four training centers;Carilion Clinic, Duke University Medical Center, Creighton University Medical Center, and the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
 
“We offer these trainings to institutions that want to make a change,” Baker said. “The bulk of the participants are nurses and quality improvement specialists, though about 15% of the participants are doctors. We request that institutions send a team of individuals who will be responsible for implementing the program and have the authority to do so.”
 
The next phase of the project is to study its results, Baker said.
 
“The current effort will run through September 2011,” he explained. “One of the things we want to do is to study the impact that TeamSTEPPS will have made by then. We project that we will have trained at least 2,000 individuals from several hundred institutions. Preliminary data suggests these programs can really make a difference, so we are excited about the possible impact this program will have on healthcare.”
 
Baker said a growing trend now in the education of health professionals is integrating this training into nursing and physician education “so that you are not just retraining people who have already been trained, you are trying to train them from the beginning.” 

 
In addition to working for AIR, Baker holds an appointment as an associated professor in the new Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and one of the key themes of the program is to have nurses, physician assistants, and medical students take classes together and learn about the importance of teamwork in delivering healthcare. Many other medical schools are also thinking about how to incorporate these principles into medical education, he said. 
 
Baker’s work has garnered a great deal of recognition. In 2007, he and his team were awarded the M. Scott Meyers Award for Applied Research in the Workplace by SIOP for TeamSTEPPS™. 
 
Baker said he cannot take all of the credit, though.
 
“It’s very nice, and I am very appreciative of Alex (Alonso) nominating me,” he said. “But, like anything, especially when we focus on a topic like teamwork and team training, there are a whole lot of people who are responsible and part of this. None of this would be possible without them.”
 
Most of the work Baker did on TeamSTEPPS™ was done with fellow SIOP members Eduardo Salas, Alex Alonso, Rachel Day, Laura Steighner, Kelley Krokos, and Andrea Amodeo Baker said.
 
“We have tried to rely heavily on the I-O evidence base in developing this program and working with Eduardo has been key to making sure that we leverage the best I-O has to offer when it comes to training teams,” he added.
 
Baker said many people are also recognizing the importance of teamwork to health safety. 
 
”The Joint Commission, the organization that certifies hospitals so they can receive Medicare and Medicaid payments, issues annual national patient safety goals each year, which includes improving communication, improving handoffs, and so forth,” he said. “This year’s focus is on eliminating disruptive behavior in the workplace, certainly a topic that SIOP should have some expertise on.”
 
Baker has published and/or presented more than 75 papers on his work.  He is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and serves on the editorial board of Human Factors. He received his PhD in I-O psychology from the University of South Florida in 1991.
 
To learn more about TeamSTEPPS™, visit the Web site www.teamstepps.ahrg.gov.