April 25, 2024

New Rice research finds team coaching can improve health care and consequently save lives | Rice News | News and Media Relations

Employee and team coaching are all the rage nowadays but are difficult to implement in the health care industry due to the specialized training required for most professions, including surgeries and other skilled medical care.

Photo of health care team
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New research from Rice University finds that coaching within existing medical teams — from one employee to others — has the potential to dramatically improve care and could save lives.

The study “Can team coaching provide healthcare the remedy it needs?” appears in a recent edition of the Journal of Interprofessional Care. Study authors Gabriela Fernández Castillo, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychological Sciences, and Eduardo Salas, the Allyn R. & Gladys M. Cline Professor in psychological sciences, conducted their research by examining existing research on team coaching. They were able to provide an outline on what outcomes team coaching can and cannot yield by accumulating evidence from fields outside of health care and incorporating team coaching methods.

“While outside coaching has its benefits, we found that the lack of specialized training in health care settings means that external consultants cannot be as effective at coaching as they need to be,” Fernández Castillo said. “This is why we recommend training current employees to coach their teams on the job.”

“The great thing about team coaching is you don’t have to set time aside for it,” Salas said. “You can do it when your team is seeing patients. You can do it when you’re going about your job.

“If these leaders can be trained to offer specialized team coaching, it will save a lot of time and money. It will allow them to avoid hiring expensive external coaches, and it will leave team members and coaches with skills they can use for every single team that they’re on.”

The study was funded by the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences and the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences at the UT Health Science Center in Houston. The paper is online at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13561820.2023.2285030.

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