Developing patient-centered teams: The role of sharing stories about patients and patient care

Ariana H. Bennett, Jane A. Hassinger, Lisa A. Martin, Lisa H. Harris, Marji Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Research indicates that health care teams are good for staff, patients, and organizations. The characteristics that make teams effective include shared objectives, mutual respect, clarity of roles, communication, trust, and collaboration. We were interested in examining how teams develop these positive characteristics. This paper explores the role of sharing stories about patients in developing patient-centered teams. Data for this paper came from 1 primary care clinic as part of a larger Providers Share Workshop study conducted by the University of Michigan. Each workshop included 5 facilitated group sessions in which staff met to talk about their work. This paper analyzes qualitative data from the workshops. Through an iterative process, research team members identified major themes, developed a coding scheme, and coded transcripts for qualitative data analysis. One of the most powerful ways group members connected was through sharing stories about their patients. Sharing clinical cases and stories helped participants bond around their shared mission of patient-centered care, build supportive relationships, enhance compassion for patients, communicate and resolve conflict, better understand workflows and job roles, develop trust, and increase morale. These attributes highlighted by participants correspond to those documented in the literature as important elements of teambuilding and key indicators of team effectiveness. The sharing of stories about patients seems to be a promising tool for positive team development in a primary care clinical setting and should be investigated further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalFamilies, Systems and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Patient stories
  • Patient-centered medical home
  • Primary care teams
  • Team development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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