Team Meetings: What if Everyone Gets A Voice?

Teamwork is now the name of the game in group endeavors. Google recently conducted Project Aristotle, a three-year study on teamwork, synthesizing its experiences along with previous research.  Some teams got better results than others. Why? 

Among the key variables were:

  • The ability of every person to speak up equally. No one individual dominated discussions.

  • The freedom to share what each member was really thinking. The team is psychologically safe.

  • The availability of a good model to guide their problem-solving.

Julia Rozovsky, the Project Aristotle lead, concluded, “Don’t underestimate the power of giving people a common platform and operating language." (1)

Could this principle apply to health care teams when discussing patients’ care? Could team conferences be regarded as the “common platform” and the Siebens Domain Management Model™ (SDMM™) framework as the “operating language”?

Yes on both counts. The conference assembles the members in one platform. The SDMM™ serves as a simple “operating language”. 

Recent studies examined this approach for inpatient rehabilitation team meetings, with emphasis on barriers to discharge home. When the SDMM™ served as the team’s framework: 

  • Many patients left functioning better,

  • More went directly home rather than to nursing homes or back to acute care hospitals,

  • Patients spent less time in the rehabilitation hospital.

These results are summarized in the table below. 

What’s the take-away?  Clinicians improved teamwork significantly using the SDMM™ to guide their work.  Other teams – within health organizations and/or the community - may also benefit when applying the SDMM™ as they serve individuals with health care needs.

TABLE - Outcomes from Use of SDMM™ with Focus on Barriers to Discharge in an Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital (2)

(1) Duhigg C. What Google learned from its quest to build the perfect team. New York Times Magazine, February 25, 2016.

(2) See outcomes from use of SDMM™ with focus on barriers to discharge in Kushner DS, Peters K, Johnson-Greene D. Evaluating the Siebens Model in geriatric-stroke inpatient rehabilitation to reduce institutionalization and acute care readmissions. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases 2016;25(2):317-326.

Christina Gleixner