Improving teamwork and standardizing care for pediatric congenital heart disease patients is the focus of a new grant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The grant will involve implementation of a teamwork training program for clinicians and establishment of integrated clinical pathways. Dr. Tina Schade Willis, assistant professor of anesthesiology is principal investigator of the two-year $574,523 grant, which is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Co-investigator Dr. Michael Mill, professor of surgery and chief of the UNC cardiothoracic surgery division, will be the lead surgical content expert for the project. He will also chair the project's multidisciplinary advisory group and integrated clinical pathway expert panel. Dr. Scott Buck, associate professor of cardiology and another co-investigator on the project, will serve as the lead cardiology content expert, providing cardiology expertise for clinical pathways design and teamwork units across the service line.
Congenital heart disease patients represent a complex, high risk group that require care in multiple hospital locations from large multidisciplinary teams. All health care personnel involved in caring for the patients in the target population will receive training in the TeamSTEPPS™ teamwork system. TeamSTEPPS, or Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety, was designed for health care professionals by the Department of Defense and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The training tools will be tailored for each clinical setting, including the operating suites, neonatal and pediatric ICUs as well as the cardiac intermediate care center.