Methods: Relying on a qualitative methodology to understand the team-building process and response to the opioid epidemic in emergency care, we sampled a team of nine researchers and thought leaders in key areas of health system and service delivery. We collected data through direct observations during structured team-building activities, followed by semi-structured interviews; direct observation from a scientific presentation; and a focus group and consensus session. We relied on the cultural exchange framework to guide our assessment of team building, and used In Vivo software to analyze the data and identify key themes.
Results: Our findings highlighted six main themes representing three areas: (1) Knowledge building and Strategy Development (need for multidisciplinary understanding of substance abuse and mental health in the emergency department (ED), and multidisciplinary (addiction medicine, social work outreach, economic cost-benefit) approaches to fight the opioid epidemic in the ED; (2) Team Demographics and Collaboration (prescribing and collaboration, and the role of multidisciplinary team composition and team effectiveness in the ED; and (3) Identify and Relationship Building (the role of professional identity to contribute to multidisciplinary research, and building effective organizational relationships in the ED). Findings informed a preliminary model of team building in emergency care.
Conclusions: Member interactions built from both personal and professional connections are fundamental for developing nuanced multidisciplinary strategies to respond to the opioid epidemic in the ED. We discuss implications for health care policies, as well as practices that are likely to promote team building and learning, and improve treatment practices.