Purpose: The aim of this paper is to describe the factors that contribute to understanding how collaboration improves performance in operating rooms (ORs) after introducing the concept of cross-functional OR scheduling teams. Design/methodology/approach: The concept was investigated at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center (RUNMC) in The Netherlands and used on an innovative path based on socio-technical systems (STS) principles designed to address non-routine tasks, variety, interferences and errors related to OR scheduling, with the aim of increasing both staff productivity and patient safety. The effects of implementing preoperative cross-functional teams in the OR were compared qualitatively. The researcher observed all of the team meetings, available data and documentation, and 13 semi-structured interviews were performed with team members for collecting additional data. Findings: In the literature, it was found that the theory of socio-technical systems and the fields of group dynamics and self-managing teams fit the OR setting. The author applied six elements of these theories (setting common goals, cohesion, openness, single-loop and double-loop learning, feedback, and control options) to the aspects found in the study. The qualitative findings revealed that high-performing teams were able to identify bottlenecks in order to improve continuity of care. The cross-functional teams used several performance indicators to gain insight into their own performance. Consequently, through collaboration, these teams were able to minimise interference and therefore learn. Cross-functional teams learned how to address interferences and improve their quality of service through improved collaboration and the improved use of control mechanisms. Practical implications: This research highlights the importance of team-based approaches and the need to improve collaboration between healthcare professionals. Originality/value: The paper confirms the value of implementing the socio-technical systems theory to improve collaboration between healthcare professionals. This case study is a valuable contribution, as it focuses on team-based organisation in preparing an OR schedule.

Collaboration, Healthcare professionals, Medical facilities, Operating theatres, Socio-technical systems theory, Team performance, Team working, The Netherlands
dx.doi.org/10.1108/TPM-11-2012-0041, hdl.handle.net/1765/41363
Team Performance Management
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Bitter, J, van Veen-Berkx, E, Gooszen, H.G, & van Amelsvoort, L.G.P.M. (2013). Multidisciplinary teamwork is an important issue to healthcare professionals. Team Performance Management, 19(5-6), 263–278. doi:10.1108/TPM-11-2012-0041