Healthcare Debriefing: TALK, TeamSTEPPS, PEARLS

Healthcare 10 minute read

23 Sep 2021 10 minute read

Duncan Ritchie Media Team


Sep, 2021

In today’s post, we’ll be taking a closer look at three of the most common healthcare debriefing structures, TALK, TeamSTEPPS and PEARLS, the processes of conducting these types of debriefing and the benefits they bring.


If you need more information about healthcare debriefings in general, and haven’t already done so, we suggest you go back and read our first article on the subject, as this will give you some much needed background and terminology for this article.


But remember to come back!


For everybody else, let’s get started…



1. TALK Debrief



4. Video Observation and Analysis for Debriefing

5. Key Takeaways



TALK Debrief

The TALK homepage states that the World Health Organisation recommends that clinical debriefings take place after every intervention, task or shift. As such, TALK  has been developed to give structured guidance for quick irregular debriefing sessions.


As you can see from the poster below, the acronym TALK stands for Target, Analysis, Learning Points, and Key Actions, the 4 key stages in this debriefing model.


Talk Debrief

Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening.” - Emma Thompson, British Actor


The developers of TALK recommend that the debrief itself lasts no more than 10 minutes and that meetings can be initiated by anyone on the team at any time and, but especially after incidents occur. Anyone familiar with the TALK model can lead a session.


The main aim of TALK is to improve communication in a clinical setting, giving everyone the opportunity to speak about the positives and negatives of any clinical action or incident, ultimately improving patient care.


The TALK website is a great resource that we thoroughly recommend taking a look at. It contains detailed instructions on how to conduct this type of debriefing and a wealth of materials such as flashcards, posters and examples to help you do so. Many of these materials are available in 8 different languages including English, Spanish and Norwegian.




Developed in the United States by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Department of Defense (DoD), TeamSTEPPS isn’t just a debriefing tool but an entire system designed to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare.


The TeamSTEPPS acronym stands for Team Strategies to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety and the main aim of this evidence-based tool is to reduce preventable errors through teamwork and good communication and it’s a very different beast from the TALK system mentioned above.


This is a fully integrated system which encompasses team structure, communication, leadership, situation monitoring and mutual support. For learners, the core curriculum alone contains 12 modules centred on various aspects of teamwork within a healthcare setting.



No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” - H.E. Luccock, American Author


Released to the public in 2006, TeamSTEPPS has now been fully implemented into over 68 facilities in the United States with around 1,500 trainers and over 5,000 staff members who have completed training. This is a robust system with robust results.


If you are interested in this system, we recommend taking a look at the AHRQ website which has all the information you would ever need about the system as well as case studies and published research. Well, worth a look!


Also, check out this great video which is better than any episode of ER! AHRQ have many resources like this.




While TALK is a debrief model designed for short meetings about any scenario in healthcare and TeamSTEPPS is a fully integrated model, PEARLS has been designed specifically for the area of medical simulation. In fact, the acronym stands for Promoting Excellence and Reflective Learning in Simulation.


Developed over a few years by the Debrief2Learn team, PEARLS recognises that the majority of learning in medical simulation takes place in the subsequent debriefing and, therefore, aims to provide a guided debrief model that takes full advantage of these sessions, with a particular focus on analysis.


PEARLS is based on a five stage debriefing, these being Setting the Scene, Reactions, Description, Analysis, and Application / Summary, with three varying approaches, namely self-assessment, focused facilitation or guided information.




The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” - George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright


Again, we thoroughly recommend taking a look through the Debrief2Learn website which contains many great resources for PEARLS itself, alongside some great research articles related to debriefing.



Video Observation and Analysis for Debriefing

Ok, so there you have a very brief overview of some common debriefing models available for healthcare today. These are not the only examples, however, and we recommend looking around for the method or hybrid method which suits you best.


It is a fact that debriefing is becoming ever more common in healthcare settings as practitioners realise how important the process is for improving communication, learning from mistakes and training. And going hand-in-hand with debriefing comes video observation and analysis.


Analysis solutions such as Codimg can add real value to debriefings, providing real, 100% objective evidence to support opinions. On this blog, we’ve already spoken in length about how video observation and analysis can be used to improve healthcare. We’d also invite you to read how Codimg can help stamp down on medical error, how it can be used for OSCE assessment, how it has been used to great effect in the University Hospital of the Canary Islands and of course how it can improve the medical debriefing process.


Codimg Process



We feel that Codimg would be particularly useful in the TeamSTEPPS and PEARLS debriefing models in which video evidence could be put to particularly good use. However, video observation and analysis is a useful tool to have in any healthcare setting.


For more information on video observation and analysis with Codimg, get in touch with us today and we’ll talk through your needs and set you up with a free trial of our software.



Until then, thanks for reading!



Key Takeaways

✔ Regular debriefings are extremely important for the smooth running of hospitals and healthcare centres.

✔ There are many different tools designed to ease the debriefing process.

✔ TALK Debrief is a great tool for quick debriefs after every intervention or shift.

✔ TeamSTEPPS is a fully integrated tool which, as well as being designed for healthcare debriefings, is an all encompassing system designed to improve patient care.

✔ PEARLS has been designed specifically for medical simulation in order to get the maximum amount of learning out of these sessions.

✔ Video observation and analysis with Codimg can aid the debriefing process, providing video based evidence which is 100% objective.  



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