A typology for health care teams

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55 Scopus citations


Background: Effective interdisciplinary health care teamwork improves clinical and financial outcomes, and training and assessment of team competencies are central to establishing high-functioning health care teams. The roles that team members assume in the provision of patient care are important contributors to effective health care team performance; however, variability among health care practitioners can lead to philosophical, political, social, and clinical differences in perceptions and recommendations for patient care as well as expected communication patterns and protocols. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the roles and behaviors within variable health care teams in the provision of patient care across multiple clinical practice areas to inform a model for team development strategies. Methodology: Interdisciplinary health care teams were observed in vivo during the routine course of their work in multiple patient care contexts. Data were collected and analyzed using qualitative methods of observation and categorization, with supplemental interviews to substantiate, to clarify, and to verify observations. The constant comparative method of data analyses was used to derive a compositional typology for health care teams. Findings: A compositional typology for health care teams emerged from the data specifying four types of health care teams: stable role, stable personnel (Type SRSP); stable role, variable personnel (Type SRVP); variable role, stable personnel (Type VRSP); and variable role, variable personnel (Type VRVP). Implications: Results suggest that health care teams may be more complicated than non-health care teams, and team models with associated derived competencies from other professions may not wholly transfer to health care. A singular model to inform best practices for health care team development may not adequately address the specific performance challenges of each team type. Adaptable development strategies for each type of team and its associated role membership may be required to optimize team performance. The health care team typology derived from this study may help inform the selection of appropriate team development strategies and define associated team competencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-354
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Care Management Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • health care teams
  • interdisciplinary teamwork
  • team competencies
  • team training
  • team typology


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