Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 826–832 | Cite as

Improving Teamwork: Impact of Structured Interdisciplinary Rounds on a Medical Teaching Unit

  • Kevin J. O’Leary
  • Diane B. Wayne
  • Corinne Haviley
  • Maureen E. Slade
  • Jungwha Lee
  • Mark V. Williams
Original Research



Effective collaboration and teamwork is essential in providing safe and effective hospital care. Prior research reveals deficiencies in collaboration on medical teaching units.


The aim of this study was to assess the impact of an intervention, structured inter-disciplinary rounds (SIDR), on hospital care providers’ ratings of collaboration and teamwork.


The study was a controlled trial comparing an intervention medical teaching unit with a similar control unit. The intervention, SIDR, combined a structured format for communication with a forum for regular interdisciplinary meetings. We surveyed providers on each unit and asked them to rate the quality of communication and collaboration they had experienced with other disciplines using a five-point ordinal scale. We also assessed the teamwork and safety climate using a validated instrument. Multivariable regression analyses were used to assess the impact on length of stay (LOS) and cost.


One hundred forty-seven of 159 (92%) eligible providers completed the survey. Although resident physicians on each unit rated the quality of communication and collaboration with nurses similarly, a greater percentage of nurses gave high ratings to the quality of collaboration with resident physicians on the intervention unit as compared to the control unit (74% vs. 44%; p = 0.02). Providers on the intervention unit rated the teamwork climate significantly higher as compared to the control unit (82.4 ± 11.7 vs. 77.3 ± 12.3; p = 0.01). The difference was explained by higher teamwork climate ratings on the part of nurses on the intervention unit (83.5 ± 14.7 vs. 74.2 ± 14.1; p = 0.005). Ratings of the safety climate were not significantly different between units. Adjusted LOS and hospital costs were not significantly different between units.


SIDR had a positive effect on nurses’ ratings of collaboration and teamwork on a medical teaching unit. Further study is required to assess the impact of SIDR on patient safety measures.


teamwork SIDR interdisciplinary rounds communication 



This study was funded by the Northwestern University Department of Medicine.

Conflict of Interest

None disclosed.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin J. O’Leary
    • 1
  • Diane B. Wayne
    • 2
  • Corinne Haviley
    • 3
  • Maureen E. Slade
    • 3
  • Jungwha Lee
    • 4
  • Mark V. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Hospital MedicineNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Division of General Internal MedicineNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Northwestern Memorial HospitalChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Preventative MedicineNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA

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