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Five Ways to Improve Teamwork in Healthcare Environments

How healthcare settings designed to enable communication can improve clinician teamwork—and save lives.

September 1, 2020

Written by: Michelle Ossmann, PhD, MSN, Director of Healthcare Knowledge & Insight at Herman Miller

Communication is essential for every successful team. But it's especially critical for clinical care teams in healthcare environments, where a quick conversation—or a simple misunderstanding—can mean the difference between life and death. This isn't hyperbole: medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States 1, and 80% of“adverse events” (i.e. mistakes) are related to miscommunications among healthcare professionals.2 Simply put, to reduce errors and save lives, we have to help care teams communicate.

We can start by setting nurses, doctors, and clinical teams up for success with workspaces that encourage communication and learning. When we design healthcare spaces to facilitate communication among care teams, we improve connectedness, continuous learning, and teamwork. This saves lives. Here's how to do it.

Design Strategies for Improving Clinician Teamwork


1. Include a Variety of Settings

2. Increase Conversational Transparency

3. Facilitate Chance Encounters

4. Plan for Human-Scaled Work Areas

5. Create Neutral Zones

Read the full article here.