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AHRQ and Department of Defense Release New Team Training Tool for Health Care Settings

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Press Release Date: November 2, 2006

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Department of Defense's military health system today released TeamSTEPPS, a new evidence-based team training and implementation toolkit that demonstrates techniques of effective communication and other teamwork skills. The new toolkit, which responds to the Institute of Medicine's call for "interdisciplinary team training programs that incorporate proven methods for team management" to prevent medical errors, is designed to optimize team performance and outcomes across the health care delivery system.

"Patient safety is a national priority and one of AHRQ's most important commitments," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "Our goal is to share this important new tool with every health care facility in America to help them create—and continue—team training systems."

"The collaborative development of TeamSTEPPS is itself an example of teamwork," noted David Tornberg, M.D., Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. "AHRQ and the Department of Defense have joined forces to bring a much-needed product into the public domain. We want to see TeamSTEPPS used in both military and community health settings."

TeamSTEPPS is presented in a multimedia format, with tools to help a health care organization plan, conduct, and evaluate its own team training program. It includes the following components:

  • An Instructor Guide that explains how to conduct a pre-training assessment of an organization's training needs, how to present the information effectively, and how to manage organizational change. The Guide also provides an evidence base for each lesson.
  • PowerPoint™ presentations that convey basic TeamSTEPPS principles.
  • A DVD that contains nine video vignettes that show how failures in teamwork and communication can place patients in jeopardy and how successful teams can work to improve patient safety.
  • A spiral-bound pocket guide that summarizes TeamSTEPPS principles in a portable, easy-to-use format.
  • A CD-ROM that contains files of all print materials so that users of TeamSTEPPS can adapt the presentations to reflect their institutions' particular situations.
  • A 17'' x 22'' poster to announce TeamSTEPPS activities in a heath care organization.

TeamSTEPPS leverages more than 20 years' research on team performance in the military and in industry. It has been field-tested extensively in military and civilian health care facilities. Designed for high-stress situations such as hospital emergency departments, critical care units, operating rooms, and obstetrical suites, the curriculum can be tailored to any health care setting where communication and teamwork are important, including physicians' offices and ambulatory clinics.

The TeamSTEPPS tools can be viewed on the Web site of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences ( Single copies of the CD-ROM and DVD, the poster, and the pocket guide can be obtained free of charge from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse by calling 800-358-9295, sending an E-mail to, or using the ordering form on the AHRQ Web site at

A limited number of assembled toolkits, including the CD, DVD, and printed materials in a 3-inch loose-leaf binder, are also available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, on a single-copy basis, at cost. Information on how to obtain multiple printed copies of TeamSTEPPS materials can also be found on the AHRQ Web site.

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs: (301) 427-1399 or (301) 427-1865.


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