What Lessons About Teamwork Have You Learned in a Multidisciplinary Healthcare Setting?

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    Doctors Magazine

    What Lessons About Teamwork Have You Learned in a Multidisciplinary Healthcare Setting?

    In the complex tapestry of healthcare, teamwork is paramount, and learning from those entrenched in its multidisciplinary nature can be invaluable. We've gathered insights from six professionals, including a Sports Psychologist and a Plastic Surgeon, to share their wisdom. From embracing role clarity and transformational leadership to valuing diverse expertise for enhanced patient outcomes, these are the lessons learned about teamwork in a healthcare setting.

    • Embrace Role Clarity and Transformational Leadership
    • Prioritize Clear, Consistent Communication
    • Establish a Shared Language for Team Collaboration
    • Implement Interdisciplinary Rounding for Cohesive Care
    • Leverage Diverse Perspectives for Innovative Solutions
    • Value Diverse Expertise for Enhanced Patient Outcomes

    Embrace Role Clarity and Transformational Leadership

    As a co-founder of a busy mental health practice that has grown from three to 60 people over the past 10 years, I have learned the importance of teamwork and team-building. Role clarity and acceptance are crucial; everyone must know their exact job, feel motivated, and be competent in their tasks. Accountability is also important, with captains following up on tasks in a collaborative and connected way.

    However, more than anything else, leaders are only effective if they lead transformationally, not just transactionally. This means they need to know who their team members are, not just what they need to do. Team leaders in healthcare who make the effort to understand their team on a deep level—considering their views and interests—foster more effective healthcare teams that provide better, more connected care to patients.

    Jonathan Fader, PhDSports Psychologist and Co- Founder of Union Square Practice, Union Square Practice

    Prioritize Clear, Consistent Communication

    From my experience in a multidisciplinary healthcare setting, I have learned the importance of clear and consistent communication. Working alongside diverse professionals, such as doctors, social workers, and nurses, has shown me that effective teamwork hinges on open dialogue and mutual respect. This environment requires us to understand each other's roles and expertise deeply.

    For instance, when collaborating with a social worker on a client's case, we often shared insights from our distinct perspectives, leading to comprehensive care plans. Sharing knowledge and being transparent about treatment plans prevent misunderstandings and ensure that the patient receives cohesive care. This collaborative approach not only fosters a supportive work environment but also significantly enhances patient outcomes.

    Kristie Tse
    Kristie TseFounder & Therapist, Uncover Mental Health Counseling

    Establish a Shared Language for Team Collaboration

    One lesson I've learned about teamwork from working in a multidisciplinary healthcare setting is the power of a shared language for effective communication and collaboration. In functional medicine, having a common language among team members, from health coaches to nutritionists to medical doctors, is crucial. For instance, when working on patient cases, it helps us swiftly and efficiently share insights and create cohesive treatment plans that everyone understands and can contribute to.

    In my practice, Erez Functional Medicine, we often deal with complex chronic diseases. Recently, we managed a case involving a patient with multiple autoimmune disorders. By integrating functional nutrition insights, health coaching, and osteopathic medical principles, our team crafted a personalized approach that significantly improved the patient's health outcomes. The collaborative care model we used relied heavily on clear, continuous communication, enabling seamless transition and coordination between different care modalities.

    A key takeaway for me has been the practical importance of precise, transparent communication systems. For example, our administrative staff plays a crucial role in this ecosystem. They handle scheduling and follow-up communications, and they ensure all team members are updated on patient progress and any adjustments to treatment plans. This administrative support ensures that our clinical interactions remain focused and effective, underscoring the need for integrating all roles within the healthcare spectrum to provide the best patient care.

    The lesson is clear: effective teamwork in a multidisciplinary healthcare setting hinges on shared language, clear communication protocols, and the strategic integration of diverse expertise. This approach not only elevates patient care but also streamlines our practice operations, leading to more successful and satisfying outcomes for both patients and practitioners.

    Dr. Aaron Erez
    Dr. Aaron ErezOwner, Erez Functional Medicine

    Implement Interdisciplinary Rounding for Cohesive Care

    When it comes to working in a multidisciplinary healthcare team, rounding is pivotal. It can be walking rounds, discharge rounds, or any kind of patient-care rounding. It should include a medical provider, nurse, case manager, social worker, dietitian, pharmacist, and rehab therapists (SLP, PT, OT, RT, etc.) as relevant. If daily rounding is too much of a strain on staffing, then ancillary team members should try to participate at least once a week. The regular meetings help establish rapport and camaraderie, as well as foster trust, respect, and productive communication. It is worth getting away from working in silos and taking the time to come together and talk. Everyone has a shared goal of quality patient care, and interdisciplinary rounds help achieve that.

    Helen Halley
    Helen HalleyNutrition Clinical Coordinator and Assistant Professor

    Leverage Diverse Perspectives for Innovative Solutions

    Working alongside professionals from various specialties has taught me that each team member brings unique insights and expertise. This collaborative approach enhances patient care and fosters a learning environment where innovation and best practices thrive. It's a reminder that achieving excellence in healthcare is a collective effort that benefits from the strengths of every individual. In some cases, the diverse perspectives revolutionize processes and lead to groundbreaking advancements in patient care.

    In our clinic, there was a particularly challenging case involving a patient with chronic lower back pain that persisted despite various treatments. Collaborating with our in-house acupuncturist and massage therapist, we devised a multifaceted treatment plan that combined spinal adjustments, acupuncture sessions, and targeted muscle therapy. This integrative approach provided the patient with significant pain relief and improved their overall mobility and quality of life. This experience underscored the importance of team-based care. It demonstrated how blending different healthcare modalities can lead to successful outcomes that might not be achievable through a single treatment method alone.

    Dr. Peter Hinz
    Dr. Peter HinzFounder, Chiropractor, and Certified Acupuncturist, Cool Springs Chiropractic

    Value Diverse Expertise for Enhanced Patient Outcomes

    One key lesson I've learned about teamwork in a multidisciplinary healthcare setting is the immense value of diverse perspectives. Each team member brings unique expertise and insights, from surgical precision to patient care and post-operative recovery. This diversity enhances problem-solving and innovation, leading to better patient outcomes. Effective communication and mutual respect are crucial; they ensure everyone's input is valued, fostering a collaborative environment where the best ideas can flourish. Plus, a touch of humor and humility goes a long way in building strong, cohesive teams that work seamlessly together to achieve excellence in patient care.

    David Hill, MD
    David Hill, MDPlastic Surgeon & Medical Director, Fulcrum Aesthetics & Surgery