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If you work in healthcare, regardless of your role, experience or background, you are part of a team, united by a desire to provide the very best care and support not just to those using your services, but to each other. This sense of common purpose is so obvious it is often overlooked but should never be assumed. This article will explore the conditions that affect team effectiveness in contemporary healthcare systems.
Teams in complex systems
Twenty-first century healthcare systems are required to deliver safe, high-quality care which aims to tackle the social determinants of health through prevention, promotion, restoration and maintenance of health. Working in silos and providing episodic care is an approach no longer fit for the growing demands of ageing and complex populations. A population health approach is now required to meet the demands our health systems face. This requires an integrated, person-centred approach based on strong system leadership and professional commitment which supports interteamworking where cross-boundary and systems-working is the norm. Leading teams to work across whole systems has real benefits. Diverse, cross-functional teams have been shown to make better quality decisions, be more innovative, undertake change successfully and be better at problem-solving.1 Edmondson coined the term ‘extreme teaming’ for situations where team members 1. Work across multiple teams at once, 2. Come together for short periods such as in emergency departments where teams convene and disband constantly (teamworking on the fly) or 3. Come together from diverse backgrounds to address complex and often novel problems. This extreme teaming is as challenging as it is necessary, and leadership is vital in doing it well.2
Teams and teamworking
A team can be defined as ‘two or more people interacting dynamically, interdependently and adaptively towards a common and valued goal, who have been assigned specific roles or functions to perform’.1 How team …
Contributors KJ planned, wrote and submitted the article and responded to feedback.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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