A leading researcher in team dynamics, Eduardo Salas, PhD, tapped The Learning Chameleon team as well as Ann Willemsen-Dunlap, Director of Interprofessional Education at Jump Simulation to contribute a chapter in his new book on their Team Neurodynamics project.
The group, led by Ron Stevens, CEO of the Learning Chameleon and Professor Emeritus at the UCLA School of Medicine, is working to measure and model how teams work together in response to change. The chapter authored by Stevens, Trysha Galloway and Willemsen-Dunlap gave an overview of the research methodology and how they integrated other rating systems with its approach.
“One of the goals of this chapter is to help others understand how we do this,” said Willemsen-Dunlap. “We don’t want to be the only people in health care doing this research; we want others to join and collaborate with us.”
How DO We Do This?
The Team Neurodynamics researchers capture and study the brainwaves of medical teams using electroencephalogram (EEG) monitors as they perform a simulated group scenario. The collaborative work of the Learning Chameleon and Jump Sim has identified what they believe are the physiologic neurodynamic markers of teamwork in new and expert surgical teams going through simulation. These markers could point out when a team is working well together and when they are falling apart. The team also validated its data against other types of teamwork analysis.
“Team skills are difficult to assess, so our ultimate goal is to develop a rapid, reliable (and) valid assessment system for team performance,” said Stevens in a recent interview. “If we can do that, we can then compare across teams, training protocols and training sites. Once you get an understanding of the variation of the landscapes, you can then design customized training for teams at particular sites and for particular disciplines.”
Willemsen-Dunlap says paired with research Dr. Salas has done to prove that team performance improves with solid simulation and debriefing, this work could lead to the development of better, standardized clinical education based off of proven and measureable communication and other teamwork principles.
“Our hope is that because we are actually able to see visual representations of what’s happening at a neuronal level as people are doing teamwork-related activities, we will be able to impact the way people experience simulation,” said Willemsen-Dunlap. “If we see there’s a specific area our learners need to work on during a simulation, we can review that information in real-time and change the direction of team training immediately following their session.”
With publications in the journal, Entropy as well as the book, “Team Dynamics Over Time,” Willemsen-Dunlap hopes potential collaborators will take an interest in the Team Neurodynamics work as there is still more research to be done.
Willemsen-Dunlap says Jump Simulation and the Learning Chameleon are onto their next round of data collection and have found they can see when uncertainties occur among teams and when it begins to resolve using neurodynamic data.
“We’re beginning to have some idea of the time it takes to resolve uncertainty in various situations which is pretty exciting because that may inform how we titrate the intensity of a simulation to help people practice and resolve uncertainty more quickly, reestablish team communication and reestablish team momentum.”
You can read more about Team Neurodynamics work by reading Fire in the OR! Predicting Team Breakdown and Research on Teamwork Hits its Stride.