Promoting Teamwork in Translational Medical Teams: Insights and Recommendations from Science and Practice - Abstract
Translational medical teams are transdisciplinary, highly collaborative, and operate within dynamic environments to solve time-sensitive and complex problems. These teams are tasked with turning observations in the laboratory and clinic into effective interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public. The nature of the problems they seek to solve requires coordination among clinicians, scientists, and experts from various scientific disciplines. Characteristically, translational medical teams have complex compositions, structure, and pluralistic goals, which pose significant challenges and barriers to enacting effective teamwork, compromising team performance. Given these challenges, it is imperative to glean insights from teams research and the science of team science on how to execute efficacious teamwork. Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to discuss specific teamwork processes (i.e., trust, communication, self-correction, backup behavior, shared mental models, and conflict management) that are critical to translational medical team performance and offer mechanisms to better equip such teams. Utilizing a theoretical framework of transdisciplinary teamwork adapted from the science of team science and tailored to translational medical teams, we describe each of these processes, their relation to translational medical team outcomes, and how they can be leveraged to improve teamwork. Such a discussion aims to provide practical guidance for conceptualizing and enhancing teamwork in translational medical teams.