Chair Files

Teamwork, Safety and Quality

At North Shore-LIJ Health System, teamwork is everywhere. This New York health system uses TeamSTEPPS—Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety—an evidence-based program developed by the Department of Defense and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. TeamSTEPPS is designed to improve communication and teamwork skills among staff and overall safety, quality and efficiency. North Shore-LIJ started its TeamSTEPPS journey in July 2007 and now has fully implemented the program systemwide. That includes 15 hospitals, 2 long-term care centers, ambulatory care and emergency medical services, and every department from clinical to environmental services. North Shore-LIJ focused on the program’s three phases: assessment; planning, training and implementation; and sustainment. Phase 1 included determining organizational goals that lead to transformational change—to a “culture of safety”—and incremental change—problem solving using TeamSTEPPS core skills. About 33,000 employees have been trained in TeamSTEPPS; all clinical leaders and department heads attend TeamSTEPPS master training and become trainers or coaches. TeamSTEPPS tools and strategies are “anchored in daily practices,” says Lily Thomas, PhD, RN, vice president of system nursing research. Outcomes at North Shore-LIJ include improving the culture of safety as demonstrated by results of AHRQ’s Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. Incremental changes are initiated at the unit/department level; examples include reducing nosocomial infections and patient falls, improving process measures and decreasing adverse outcomes and birth trauma in perinatal services.

For more information, contact Dr. Thomas at or Catherine Galla, RN, assistant vice president, nursing initiatives, at A recent webinar highlighted North Shore-LIJ’s TeamSTEPPS implementation. features webinars, guides and case studies from AHA resources and other groups.


Additional Resources

Webinars December 13th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 2: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 20th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 1: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 17th, 2017

Transportation and the Role of Hospitals This AHA webinar on “Transportation and the Role of Hos......