Teaching teamwork: An academic imperative

by Justine Olsen on Dec 27, 2017

As healthcare organizations shift their focus away from episodic care and toward population health management, they are realizing the need to change the way they approach healthcare delivery.

Population medicine requires deliberate coordination across interdisciplinary care teams where the groups recognize each team member’s distinct and equally-contributing role and engage in interactive and collaborative communication. High-functioning teams have flat hierarchies, employ structured communication techniques and have defined methods for resolving conflict. Such teams do not evolve by accident—all members acknowledge that partnership and cooperation are necessary and grasp what’s involved in consistently embodying these characteristics. More specifically, group members understand what team behaviors entail, commit to demonstrating those behaviors and practice them until they become second nature.

Rethinking provider education
Although healthcare organizations can offer team training to their staff and physicians to establish expectations and provide clear-cut communication strategies, this will only go so far in modifying the long-established behaviors of self-reliance and siloed decision making. To ensure reliable team-based performance over the long-term, the healthcare industry must reimagine how it lays the groundwork for cross-provider collaboration, looking at ways to train individuals before they even begin their careers. In particular, academic institutions responsible for training the next generation of providers should revisit their respective curricula in response to the shifting healthcare environment. This idea is not limited to physicians, but applies to all providers, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals.

Read the full article
Becker's Hospital Review 

Meet the Author

Justine Olsen serves as Healthcare Strategy Analyst with CQuence Health Group. Prior to joining CQuence, Justine provided consulting services to medical practices and health systems participating in CMS’ Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative. Justine also has experience in administration of community-based behavioral health programs. Justine holds an MSc in Public Policy & Administration from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a B.A. in Political Science from Creighton University. She has also received a Lean/Six Sigma BlackBelt - Healthcare professional certificate from Villanova University.


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