As the Affordable Care Act continues to add millions of Americans to the health care system, providers are struggling to balance the increased demand for quality health care with shortages of nurses, physicians, and other health care professionals. As a result, many organizations are beginning to adopt a team-based approach to care. In a recent blog post from the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, Barbara Brandt writes that,
“I’ve personally observed workflow in transformed clinics, and to the uninformed, it is like entering a foreign land compared to traditional practices. In one clinic, I observed the front desk receptionist as leading a quality improvement meeting that included physicians, a nurse practitioner, a psychologist, technology manager, among others. For this project, it was essential that the receptionist take the lead because the project involved piloting a new patient scheduling system. It was an extraordinary experience and made me think about how important it is to prepare students and residents who will be rotating and learning in these environments to develop fully the skill sets they need.”
In addition, a recent Brookings Institute report titled, “On the ‘Front Lines’ of Health Reform: Reinventing Team-Based Care,” argues that,
“Bringing together a broad range of skills and perspectives across an interprofessional care team is critical to accommodating the many physical, emotional, and social needs of patients. The team may include primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, health coaches, and mental health professionals. The composition should depend entirely on each patient’s needs.”
In fact, these “frontline health care workers,” such as medical assistants, administrative assistants, laboratory and pharmacy technicians, community health workers, health educators, and home health aids, represent “nearly 50% of the estimated 18 million people employed in the health care workforce.” What’s more, they are often the first point of contact for patients and their families, making them essential to the successful health care experience.
Want to learn more about how a team-based approach can increase positive outcomes for the health and wellbeing of patients, families, and communities? Check out The Interprofessional Health Care Team: Leadership and Development by Donna Weiss, Felice Tilin, and Marlene J. Morgan. By exploring theoretical concepts of leadership in an interdisciplinary health care environment, this text provides practical examples from the perspective of health care scholars, scientists, faculty, and health administration professionals. Read a sample chapter now or visit our website for more information.