Multidisciplinary rapid response teams focus on patients’ emergent needs and manage critical situations to prevent avoidable deaths. Although research has focused primarily on outcomes, studies of the actual team effectiveness within the teams from multiple perspectives have been limited.
To describe effectiveness of rapid response teams in a large teaching hospital in California that had been using such teams for 5 years.
The grounded-theory method was used to discover if substantive theory might emerge from interview and/or observational data. Purposeful sampling was used to conduct in-person semistructured interviews with 17 key informants. Convenience sampling was used for the 9 observed events that involved a rapid response team. Analysis involved use of a concept or indicator model to generate empirical results from the data. Data were coded, compared, and contrasted, and, when appropriate, relationships between concepts were formed.
Dimensions of effective team performance included the concepts of organizational culture, team structure, expertise, communication, and teamwork.
Professionals involved reported that rapid response teams functioned well in managing patients at risk or in crisis; however, unique challenges were identified. Teams were loosely coupled because of the inconsistency of team members from day to day. Team members had little opportunity to develop relationships or team skills. The need for team training may be greater than that among teams that work together regularly under less time pressure to perform. Communication between team members and managing a crisis were critical aspects of an effective response team.