Complex social intervention for multidisciplinary teams to improve patient referrals in obstetrical care: protocol for a stepped wedge study design

Anita Romijn*, Martine C. de Bruijne, Pim W. Teunissen, Christianne J. M. de Groot, Cordula Wagner

*Corresponding author for this work

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In obstetrics, patients often experience referral situations between different care professionals. In these multidisciplinary teams, a focus on communication and interprofessional collaboration is needed to ensure care of high quality. Crew resource management team training is increasingly being applied in healthcare settings to improve team performance and coordination. Efforts to improve communication also include tools for standardisation such as SBAR (situation, background, assessment, recommendation). Despite the growing adoption of these interventions, evidence on their effectiveness is limited, especially on patient outcomes. This article describes a study protocol to examine the effectiveness of a crew resource management team training intervention aimed at implementing the SBAR tool for structured communication during patient referrals in obstetrical care.The intervention is rolled out sequentially in five hospitals and surrounding primary care midwifery practices in the Netherlands, using a stepped wedge design. The intervention involves three phases over a period of 24?months: (1) preparation, (2) training and (3) follow-up with repeated measurements. The primary outcomes are perinatal and maternal outcomes calculated using the Adverse Outcome Index. The secondary outcomes are the reaction of participating professionals to the training programme, attitudes towards safety and teamwork (Safety Attitudes Questionnaire), cohesion (Interprofessional Collaboration Measurement Scale), use of the tool for structured communication (self-reported questionnaire) and patient experiences. These secondary outcomes from professional and patient level allow triangulation and an increased understanding of the effect of the intervention on patient outcomes.The study was approved by the Medical Ethical Committee of the VU University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and the protocol is in accordance with Dutch privacy regulations. Study findings will be presented in publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conferences.NTR4256; Pre-results.Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere011443
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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