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Enhancing Patient Safety in the Pediatric Emergency Department: Teams, Communication, and Lessons From Crew Resource Management

Pruitt, Christopher M. MD*; Liebelt, Erica L. MD*†

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3181fec9cf
CME Review Article

The fast-paced and multifaceted nature of patient care in the emergency department makes our discipline especially prone to errors and adverse events. In recent years, strategies such as formal communication and medical team training have been proposed as potential means to enhance patient safety. In many ways, practice dynamics particular to the emergency department make this setting almost ideal for implementation of these strategies. This article reviews concepts of communication and team training in medicine, including those learned from the aviation industry (known as crew resource management). Recent literature pertaining to teams and communication in medicine is reviewed.

Assistant Professor (Pruitt) and Professor (Liebelt), *Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine; and Medical Director (Liebelt), †Medication Safety, Children's Hospital of Alabama, Birmingham, AL.

Reprints: Christopher Pruitt, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital of Alabama, 1600 7th Avenue South, CPP 210, Birmingham, AL 35233 (e-mail:

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationship with or financial interests in any commercial companies that pertain to this educational activity.

All staff in a position to control the content of this CME activity have disclosed that they have no financial relationships with, or financial interests in, any commercial companies pertaining to this educational activity.

Lippincott CME Institute has identified and resolved all faculty conflicts of interest regarding this educational activity.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.