Department of Medicine Publications

Title

Interprofessional Communication and Medical Error: A Reframing of Research Questions and Approaches

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2008

Journal

Academic Medicine

Volume

83

Issue

10 Suppl

First Page

76

Last Page

81

URL with Digital Object Identifier

http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e318183e67b

Abstract

Progress toward understanding the links between interprofessional communication and issues of medical error has been slow. Recent research proposes that this delay may result from overlooking the complexities involved in interprofessional care. Medical education initiatives in this domain tend to simplify the complexities of team membership fluidity, rotation, and use of communication tools. A new theoretically informed research approach is required to take into account these complexities. To generate such an approach, we review two theories from the social sciences: Activity Theory and Knotworking. Using these perspectives, we propose that research into interprofessional communication and medical error can develop better understandings of (1) how and why medical errors are generated and (2) how and why gaps in team defenses occur. Such complexities will have to be investigated if students and practicing clinicians are to be adequately prepared to work safely in interprofessional teams.

Notes

Dr. Lorelei Lingard is currently a faculty member at The University of Western Ontario.

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