Late Breaking Poster Abstract

Interprofessional Communication Failures in the Medical Emergency Team: A Video Observational Pilot Study (P122)

Charlotte Paltved, MD (Institute of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark); Peter Musaeus, PhD, psychologist (Centre of Medical Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark); Kurt Nielsen, MD (Head of Simulation Centre SkejSim, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark); Hans Kirkegaard, DMSc, PhD (Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Centre of Acute Research, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark)


Interprofessional team communication has been identified as an important focus for safety and quality improvement in the Emergency Department 1. However, in-depth knowledge of the dynamics of interprofessional communication failures in acute clinical settings is limited. This pilot study describes the characteristics of communication patterns and failures, and classifies the effects. The study is part of a larger project to develop contextualized simulation-based courses for improving communication in the medical emergency team.


The Lingard group has studied communication failures in the operating room and a descriptive classification model was developed. Failures occurred in 30% of information exchanges. Approximately one third of the failures had observable negative outcomes 2.

This theoretical framework will be applied to the medical emergency team as it might provide a vocabulary for operationalizing the differences between “effective and ineffective” communication 3. The study is a prospective video observational study which will be finished in May. It is conducted by trained observers. The data is coded using thematic analysis.


Notwithstanding the complexity of interprofessional communication, this classification of communication failures will probably reveal critical aspects of team discourse which can be targeted for training initiatives. Results will be presented in June 2012.


  1. Redfern E, Brown R, Vincent CA. Identifying vulnerabilities in communication in the emergency department. Emerg Med J 2009; 26: 653-657.
  2. Lingard L, Espin S, Whyte S et al. Communication failures in the operating room: an observational classification of recurrent types and effects. Qual Saf Health Care 2004;13:330-334
  3. Lingard L. The rhetorical ‘turn’ in medical education: what have we learned and where are we going? Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract 2007;12:121-133.