A task force led by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has released a report recommending that physicians across all specialties employ team-based care, stating this care model would improve patient experiences and population health, and lower per capita costs.
According to the peer-reviewed report, “Collaboration in Practice: Implementing Team-Based Care,” the team-based model, which involves the provision of health services to individuals, families and communities by at least two clinicians, can lead to improved outcomes while reducing cost. The model would also call for physicians to actively engage patients as full participants in their care, while also encouraging other clinicians to contribute to the “full extent of their education, certification and experience.” The report, directed at practices, payers, hospitals and health care providers, was drafted by a task force representing 10 medical professional organizations. It has the endorsement of 19 professional organizations.
“Evidence and experience have long showed that, across disciplines, collaboration in care leads to not just improved patient outcomes, but also enhanced patient satisfaction,” John C. Jennings, MD, the former American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) president who initiated the task force, said in a press release. “By recommending that all members of the care team be included in team-based care, and by emphasizing its value through the life of a patient, we are laying the groundwork for team-based care to become the standard across medical disciplines.”
According to the report, team-based care can help physicians achieve the “Triple Aim,” defined as improving the experience of care of individuals and families, improving the health of populations and lowering per capita costs.
In addition, the report says team-based care can be coupled with other nontraditional tools, including telehealth and virtual teams, to help improve access to healthcare and reduce health disparities.
The task force convened in the summer of 2014, and included representatives from the ACOG, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health and the National Partnership for Women and Families.
“Optimally implemented, the team-based approach provides integrated care over the course of a specific experience, as well as across a patient’s lifespan and within a regionalized care system,” the task force wrote. “Some aspects of creating a team-based approach may be difficult to implement or transition to at first, but long-term benefits (such as achieving the Triple Aim) are expected to outweigh short-term difficulties.” – by Jason Laday