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Does team reflexivity impact teamwork and communication in interprofessional hospital-based healthcare teams? A systematic review and narrative synthesis
  1. Siobhan Kathleen McHugh1,2,
  2. Rebecca Lawton1,2,
  3. Jane Kathryn O'Hara2,3,
  4. Laura Sheard2
  1. 1 School of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  2. 2 Yorkshire Quality and Safety Research Group, Bradford Institute for Health Research, Bradford, UK
  3. 3 Leeds Institute of Medical Education, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Ms Siobhan Kathleen McHugh, School of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK; ed13skm{at}


Background Teamwork and communication are recognised as key contributors to safe and high-quality patient care. Interventions targeting process and relational aspects of care may therefore provide patient safety solutions that reflect the complex nature of healthcare. Team reflexivity is one such approach with the potential to support improvements in communication and teamwork, where reflexivity is defined as the ability to pay critical attention to individual and team practices with reference to social and contextual information.

Objective To systematically review articles that describe the use of team reflexivity in interprofessional hospital-based healthcare teams.

Methods Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, six electronic databases were searched to identify literature investigating the use of team reflexivity in interprofessional hospital-based healthcare teams.

The review includes articles investigating the use of team reflexivity to improve teamwork and communication in any naturally occurring hospital-based healthcare teams. Articles’ eligibility was validated by two second reviewers (5%).

Results Fifteen empirical articles were included in the review. Simulation training and video-reflexive ethnography (VRE) were the most commonly used forms of team reflexivity. Included articles focused on the use of reflexive interventions to improve teamwork and communication within interprofessional healthcare teams. Communication during interprofessional teamworking was the most prominent focus of improvement methods. The nature of this review only allows assessment of team reflexivity as an activity embedded within specific methods. Poorly defined methodological information relating to reflexivity in the reviewed studies made it difficult to draw conclusive evidence about the impact of reflexivity alone.

Conclusion The reviewed literature suggests that VRE is well placed to provide more locally appropriate solutions to contributory patient safety factors, ranging from individual and social learning to improvements in practices and systems.

Trial registration number CRD42017055602.

  • Teamwork
  • communication
  • reflexivity
  • healthcare quality improvement
  • healthcare staff

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  • Twitter @skmc84, @LawtonRebecca, @janekohara, @laurainbradford

  • Contributors SKM was the main author of this study and was involved in carrying out all the main elements of the review and in writing the review. RL, JKOH and LS were all involved in reviewing the systematic review process and in the write-up of the review. RL was the main second reviewer of this publication and the main contact in the wider supervisory team.

  • Funding The research was funded by the NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber ( The views expressed are those of the author(s), and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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