Cognition, Technology & Work

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 47–57

Exploring similarities and differences in teamwork across diverse healthcare contexts using communication analysis

  • Avi Parush
  • Chelsea Kramer
  • Tara Foster-Hunt
  • Alicia McMullan
  • Kathryn Momtahan
Original Article


Teamwork is prevalent in many work contexts. This study explored the similarities and differences in teamwork processes across different healthcare work contexts with the aim of assessing knowledge transfer feasibility. The research approach was to aggregate team communication analyses from four healthcare contexts to uncover teamwork similarities and differences. The four healthcare contexts included two handoffs and two surgery contexts. The communication analysis segmented communication into meaningful sequences. It categorized utterances into content categories and verbal behaviors. There were a few similar content categories across the four contexts. A clear information structure emerged in the two handoff contexts. In addition, there were more dialogues and requests in the surgeries compared to more reports in the handoffs. The content similarities suggest that some knowledge is transferable among the contexts. However, the differences in communication patterns reflect fundamental differences between handoff and surgery contexts in some teamwork processes. This research demonstrated that using communication analysis can uncover similarities and differences in team cognition and teamwork processes across work contexts. This in turn can help determine what knowledge and methods pertaining to team training, procedures, and technology are transferable across the contexts.


Teamwork Handoffs Surgeries Information sharing Coordination Collaboration Verbal behaviors Healthcare 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Avi Parush
    • 1
  • Chelsea Kramer
    • 2
  • Tara Foster-Hunt
    • 3
  • Alicia McMullan
    • 4
  • Kathryn Momtahan
    • 5
  1. 1.Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.CAE Professional ServicesOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Canadian Department of National DefenseOttawaCanada
  4. 4.University of OttawaOttawaCanada
  5. 5.The Ottawa HospitalOttawaCanada

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