Background: Teamwork in health care settings is widely recognized as an important factor in providing high quality patient care. However, the behaviors that comprise effective teamwork, the organizational factors that support teamwork, and the relationship between teamwork and patient outcomes remain empirical questions in need of rigorous study.
Objective: To identify and review survey instruments used to assess dimensions of teamwork, so as to facilitate high quality research on this topic.
Research design: We conducted a systematic review of articles published before September 2012 to identify survey instruments used to measure teamwork and to assess their conceptual content, psychometric validity, and relationships to outcomes of interest. We searched the ISI Web of Knowledge database and identified relevant articles using the search terms team, teamwork, or collaboration in combination with survey, scale, measure, or questionnaire.
Results: We found 39 surveys that measured teamwork. Surveys assessed different dimensions of teamwork. The most commonly assessed dimensions were communication, coordination, and respect. Of the 39 surveys, 10 met all of the criteria for psychometric validity, and 14 showed significant relationships to non-self-report outcomes.
Conclusions: Evidence of psychometric validity is lacking for many teamwork survey instruments. However, several psychometrically valid instruments are available. Researchers aiming to advance research on teamwork in health care should consider using or adapting one of these instruments before creating a new one. Because instruments vary considerably in the behavioral processes and emergent states of teamwork that they capture, researchers must carefully evaluate the conceptual consistency between instrument, research question, and context.