An Exploratory Study of the Functions of Health Team Rounds on the Medical and Pediatric Services of an Academic Health Center
Submitted by Madeline H Schmitt on Sep 30, 2014 - 4:26pm CDT
This paper was originally published in the Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Interdisciplinary Health Team Care Conference, which took place September 22-25, 1982 in Lexington, Kentucky. It is reproduced here with the permission of the authors.
Studying health care teams in an experimentally controlled long-term care setting Is of little help in studying health care teams naturalistically in an acute care hospital. That is our overall conclusion from our preliminary efforts to make such a transition in our research on health care teams. We've found ourselves repeatedly returning to basic questions that we thought had been answered. These questions include: What is the purpose of a health care team? How does it function? What are its outcomes? The truth of what was expressed at the panel session at the Third Annual Conference on Interdisciplinary Health Care Teams—that studying health care teams is like "shooting at a moving target" (Baldwin, Thomas and Schmitt, 1981)—has been made evident to us. The answers to such questions change as the teams and the setting that are the focus of study change.
In this paper we will present first the theory, methods and key findings from an initial study of health care teams, which was designed as a quasi-experiment in a long-term care institution. Next, we will describe our present study, which, in its first stages, has been an exploratory descriptive study of health care teams in a field setting, a tertiary care academic health center, which is quite different from the long-term care setting studied initially. In the first study, the theory tested was explicit and variables were controlled and operationalized to permit a test of that theory. Our problems with the present study have emerged, from the struggle to articulate theoretical concepts and hypotheses relevant to the types of health care teams that have been the focus of our descriptive efforts in the acute care hospital. An additional problem has been the difficulty of operationally defining and measuring the concepts and hypotheses felt to hold theoretical and practical importance. We will discuss the methods we have used in the present study, our descriptive findings and our working conceptual model.
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