Groups or teams in health care: finding the best fit

Deborah C. Saltman, Natalie A. O'Dea, Jane Farmer, Craig Veitch, Gaye Rosen, Michael R. Kidd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: In the evolution of the team concept, clear distinctions between 'groups' and 'teams' were made. In this paper we argue that these distinctions were not made explicit in the translation of team structures to health care. Even though teams are appropriate for many health care settings, this paper explores the notion that when teams may not be working, it is the concept of team that may not be appropriate, not the functioning of the team itself.

Methods: This paper reviews the differences between teams and groups, and identifies how these differences are expressed in health care settings using urban and rural examples from the UK and Australia.

Results: Some suggestions about matching structures to suit the unique nature of health care provision, particularly in community health settings, are made.

Discussion: Instead of concentrating on improving the process of teams, the focus could be better directed to ensure that whatever structure is utilized best facilitates the necessary outcomes in the most effective way. The team approach may not always be the best approach, and sometimes referring to a number of people working together as a group is sufficient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-60
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number1
Early online date26 Oct 2006
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


  • groups
  • health care organization
  • teams
  • general-practice
  • involvement
  • performance


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