Tools for Assessment of Communication Skills of Hospital Action Teams: A Systematic Review

Shady A. Rehim, Stephanie DeMoor, Richard Olmsted, Daniel L. Dent, Jessica Parker-Raley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background Hospital action teams comprise interdisciplinary health care providers working simultaneously to treat critically ill patients. Assessments designed to evaluate communication effectiveness or “nontechnical” performance of these teams are essential to minimize medical errors and improve team productivity. Although multiple communication tools are available, the characteristics and psychometric validity of these instruments have yet to be systematically compared. Objective To identify assessments used to evaluate the communication or “nontechnical” performance of hospital action teams and summarize evidence to develop and validate these instruments. Method A literature search was conducted using MEDLINE/PubMed database to identify original articles related to assessment of communication skills in teams working in acute care medicine not exclusive to emergency room, operating room, prehospital air and ground transport, or code blue/rapid response resuscitations. Results Ten communication assessment tools were identified. Six tools (60%) were designed to measure communication performance of the whole team, whereas 4 tools (40%) were created to assess individual team member's communication skills. Regardless of the type of analysis, the most commonly assessed behavior domains were Leadership, Teamwork, Communication, and Situation awareness. Only 1 of 16 articles describing a particular communication assessment tool reported all the validation criteria, other authors underreported efforts to validate their instruments. Conclusion A number of tools designed to measure the communication or “nontechnical” performance of hospital action teams are available. Unfortunately, limited reported validity evidence may hamper the utility of these tools in actual clinical practice until further validation studies are performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-351
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • communication
  • resuscitation
  • teamwork
  • tools
  • trauma
  • validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Surgery


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