Why Does a Hospital Have an Escape Room?

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team, doer, innovator, connector, team builder, challenger, organizer, research
Studying a team of participants in an escape room can help identify the roles people play in teams and help shape future interactions.

At Cedars-Sinai, an escape room has turned into more than just a fun activity—it’s also being used in a research project.

The room, which started as a team bonding activity for Cedars-Sinai employees, has become a research project exploring how teams work together in complex situations.

Groups get 45 minutes to find a cure for a “virus” that has been released into the room. Their behavior is recorded and analyzed by researchers.

Tara Cohen, PhD, Vinisha Prajapati, research, escape room, Cedars-Sinai, data analysis, behavior analysis
Researcher Tara Cohen, PhD and intern Vinisha Prajapati analyze data gathered from escape room participants.

“Participants can take what they learned in the escape room and apply it to other real-life situations,” says Tara Cohen, PhD, research scientist and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery.

We talked to Tara Cohen and program development coordinator Brittany Bancroft to learn more about the project.

'A healthcare team that works together effectively is going to be most successful at caring for patients.' Click To Tweet

What are you studying with this project?

The way people work together as part of a team can impact how successful they are at performing team-related activities. We wanted to explore that idea by focusing on specific behaviors and roles that participants take on in a situation that requires teamwork.

We observe how individuals behave during the escape room to identify which specific roles they demonstrate: doer, innovator, connector, team builder, challenger, or organizer. After teams participate in the escape room, we debrief participants about which skills the team performed well, as well as opportunities for improvement.

Why are you studying this?

The purpose of this study is two-fold: to investigate the value of the escape room for team-building and to use the escape room setting to study and understand important processes for effective teamwork.

By understanding the processes that team members use when working together, we can develop teams that are more likely to function optimally.


Read: Curating the Weird History of Medicine


What are you hoping to achieve?

We are hoping to understand if this type of team-building experience is helpful in enhancing team cohesion and also to learn about the factors that may contribute to high-performing teams.

How does this affect patients?

A healthcare team that works together effectively is going to be most successful at caring for patients.

As clinical care gets more complex, good communication and collaboration skills can help reduce errors and miscommunication and lead to better overall patient care.

Cedars-Sinai, teamwork, research, behavior, escape room
Scientists observe escape room participants to better understand the roles team members take on when they work together.

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