What is MedTeams?

"We tell students that in some ways, MedTeams is the most difficult course they’ll ever take, because it questions the fundamental ways you conduct yourself," says Robert Simon, EdD, chief scientist for the crew performance group at Dynamics Research Corporation in Andover, MA. "We are not just a consulting firm that comes in and promises to fix things."

The MedTeams curriculum is comprised of an eight-hour module with the following five steps:

1. Decide what team structure the ED needs. "A lot of work needs to be done ahead of time at a facility to assess how they do things," explains Matthew Rice, MD, FACEP, medical corps chief at the department of emergency medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, WA. "Then we coordinate teams that organize the general flow and support the core team that sees the patients. Vignettes and video clips demonstrate the ways they can work together."

2. Identify problem-solving strategies. "We discuss the different decision making processes in medicine and how they are different in emergency medicine," says Rice.

3. Communicate with the team. "We focus on how, in the ED, things such as different perceptions of words can be very important when communicating between a clerk and a doctor," says Rice.

4. Execute plans and managing work load. "We give examples of how to delegate tasks and assume responsibility for issues even outside of your work area," Rice explains.

5. Improve specific team skills with practical examples. Exercises allow people to interact on a practical basis.