Grant Application

Kate Zmijewski, MHA, and Amy Thompson, MSN, RN-BC, clinical education specialist, of UPMC Passavant


Proposed Innovation

Poor communication and teamwork can lead to errors, delays, and the risk of harm to patients. By learning to communicate clearly and work together as a team, health care workers will make fewer mistakes — and patients will have better outcomes.

The TeamSTEPPS™ initiative at UPMC Passavant will be developed as two pilot programs to improve multidisciplinary teamwork and communication of clinical information between professional staff in different service lines. Implementing the initiative in two different departments and projects will provide the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the tools across disciplines and the feasibility of implementing it throughout UPMC Passavant.

Improvements in Action

TTeamSTEPPS (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) is a national patient safety training program for health care professionals, designed to improve patient safety within a health care organization through teamwork training and culture change. Developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Department of Defense Patient Safety Program, it provides higher quality, safer patient care through increasing team awareness and clarifying roles and responsibilities by introducing tools and strategies to improve team performance.

Through the Beckwith Institute grant, the TeamSTEPPS initiative at UPMC Passavant will be launched as two pilot programs aimed at: 1) Improving the handoff of open heart patients moving from the operating room to the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU), and 2) Improving the Radiology Department outpatient check-in and registration process.


Results — In Progress

Staff members directly responsible for the transfer of care of open heart patients — surgeons, anesthesiologists, perfusionists, and respiratory and nursing staff — will attend a four-hour TeamSTEPPS Essential Training Course where they will be given the designated tools necessary to provide a safe patient handoff. Members of the Radiology Department — leadership, registration, and technicians — also will attend an Essential Training Course where they will received the designated tools needed to improve communication and patient satisfaction. The pilot project will be evaluated to determine the feasibility of “rolling out” TeamSTEPPS at the organizational level throughout UPMC Passavant.