This narrative review aimed to scope the patient safety literature to identify interprofessional intervention approaches, sources of evidence and reported outcomes.

Data sources

Two major databases (MEDLINE and CINAHL) were searched from 2005 to 2015.

Study selection

A total of 1552 abstracts were initially identified. After screening these abstracts, 129 full papers were obtained. Further screening resulted in a total of 89 papers included in this review.

Data extraction

The following information was extracted from each included paper: details on the patient safety intervention, study methods employed and outcomes reported.

Results of data synthesis

It was found that the bulk of the included studies was undertaken in a North American acute care context. Most often, studies involved qualified professionals from nursing and medicine collaborating in hospitals and medical centres. Nearly half the studies reported in this review employed educational interventions, such as TeamSTEPPS, aimed at enhancing practitioners’ competence of delivering safe patient care. Nearly a third of studies involved practice-based interventions (e.g. checklists) aimed at improving the delivery of safe care. Most of the studies used a quasi-experimental design and typically gathered survey data. The majority reported outcomes related to changes in professionals’ attitudes, knowledge and skills. There were, however, fewer studies reporting changes in practitioners’ safety behaviours, organizational practices or patient benefit.


The use of different interprofessional interventions are key activities involved in promoting safe patient care practices. However, further work is needed to strengthen these interventions and their evaluations.

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