The impact of clinic design on teamwork development in primary care.

R J Stroebel, B Obeidat, Lisa Lim, J D Mitchell, D B Jasperson, C Zimring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background Traditional clinic design supports a high-volume, hierarchical practice model. New design models are evolving to foster a high-functioning team delivery model. Purpose The goal of this study was to determine whether new design models, specifically colocation, improve care team development. Methodology/Approach A quasi-experimental design was used in this study to obtain validated teamwork development scores and patient satisfaction data to compare clinic design models. We took advantage of a difference in designs of primary care clinics among several clinics within the same care system in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. The participants were staff members of the primary care delivery teams in the studied clinics. The intervention was a redesign of staff space in the clinic. Our measures included a validated measure of team development and a commonly used patient satisfaction tool that were both in use at our institution at the time of the study. Results Teamwork scores were significantly higher in clinics where the primary work space of the entire team was colocated than in clinics where providers were in spaces separate from other team members. The differences in scores held across team roles, including providers, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses. Patient satisfaction was not different. Conclusion Colocation in clinic design appears to have a significant impact on team development across primary care team member roles. Practice Implications Primary care practice leaders should consider colocated clinic designs if their goal is to optimize care team development in support of team-based care delivery models. A more precise understanding of colocation that includes aspects such as distance to and visibility to teammates might help improve design in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-264
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Care Management Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • ambulatory care
  • human factors
  • primary care
  • teamwork


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