European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Understanding and improving team decision making in uncertain environments

Project description

Teamwork to reduce medical errors

The World Health Organization estimates that patient harm is the 14th leading cause of the global disease burden, similar in impact to tuberculosis and malaria. One adverse event resulting in patient harm is diagnostic error (incorrect or delayed diagnosis), and in the emergency room, this rate can rise to 35 %. The EU-funded TeamUp project will work to improve teamwork diagnosis in order to reduce diagnostic errors. Specifically, it will identify mechanisms and present the performance benefits of teams in the diagnostic decision process. It will also find effective ways to combine individual work with teamwork as well as interaction patterns that make teams successful. The project will conduct computer-based experiments involving medical students and carry out a simulation study involving real emergency teams.


According to the European Commission’s report „Patient Safety and Quality of Care“ (2014), each year, 8 to 12% of hospitalized patients suffer from adverse events, mostly diagnostic errors. Environments such as the emergency room are particularly vulnerable with up to 35% diagnostic errors. Research into how to reduce diagnostic errors has so far focused on how to train, educate, or technically support the individual physician—thus largely neglecting an integral aspect of clinical diagnosis: its collaborative character. In fact, the National Academy of Medicine has only recently suggested that teamwork is key to reduce the unacceptably high incidence of diagnostic error worldwide (2015).
The goal of the project “TeamUp” is to advance the understanding of decision processes in teams in uncertain environments such as the emergency room, and ultimately, to inform theory-based interventions to achieve diagnostic excellence. In detail, to scrutinize the determinants of high diagnostic accuracy, the project aims to (1) identify mechanisms and locate performance benefits of teams in the diagnostic decision process, (2) find effective ways to combine individual with teamwork, (3) identify interaction patterns that render teams successful, and (4) to transfer findings to teaching material for dissemination among end-users. To deliver these aims, the project draws on three research streams, namely judgment and decision making, small group research and diagnostic error research, which are so far largely unconnected. “TeamUp” contains two computer-based experiments involving medical students, a simulation study involving real emergency teams, and a dedicated dissemination phase. The project will lead to a reduction of diagnostic errors, avoid unnecessary treatments, save healthcare costs, and ultimately enhance patient safety.


Net EU contribution
€ 203 149,44
3012 Bern

See on map

Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Espace Mittelland Bern / Berne
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 203 149,44