The importance of collaboration for effective patient care

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When it comes to healthcare, the more professional opinions a patient can get, the better. This doesn’t always mean that medical professionals will agree with each other on a course of action, but the care will be more buttery with different perspectives. Collaboration and teamwork are vital in today’s medical community because many patient care aspects need to be addressed. Treating the patient rather than a set of symptoms will ensure they get the necessary care.

Healthcare is slower at implementing tools that enhance how team members communicate and access records, but the industry is coming around to this. The use of electronic health records, programmable IV drips, and telehealth have been increasing quickly, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are several good reasons why the ability to collaborate is so important in healthcare teams – these include improved patient care, fewer errors, and a reduction in costs, among others.

Improves patient care

In a collaborative healthcare environment, many professionals and specialists are involved with patient care. An example would be a patient in the emergency room complaining of dizziness and nausea. The patient is checked in and has their vital signs taken by the nurse on duty. They then get their blood drawn, their blood sugar is taken, and the nurse realizes their blood sugar level is high. This prompts a message to an endocrinologist as the possibility of diabetes increases.

Depending on how high, the intensive care unit would be notified, and the doctors and nurses would prepare for the patient. As the patient becomes stable, other health team members check on them, such as their primary care physician, nurses, endocrinologist, and other professionals, who may address any other issues during the emergency room visit.

So far, this patient has seen upwards of six or more medical personnel working together to ensure that the patient is being treated efficiently and for the right illnesses. A new diagnosis of diabetes would also involve dieticians, therapists, and social workers. This ensures the patient is treated, educated, and has after-care support once released from the hospital.

Each medical professional will have a different perspective on the patient and contribute to the full picture of the patient’s health. With electronic recordkeeping, they can report on the test results and treatment options and share that information with the rest of the team in real-time. This ensures everyone is on the same page and the eventual treatment plan is consistent with the diagnosis. Accessing the patient’s medical records is crucial because the medical team is usually not in the same room simultaneously.

Some of the highest-paying nursing careers put nurses in lucrative positions where they can treat patients for illnesses autonomously without physician supervision. Accredited schools such as Carson-Newman provide a curriculum that will give nurses a solid understanding of how a collaborative medical team works so that they become a crucial part of the healthcare industry.

Reduces errors

A collaborative team in healthcare reduces the chances of missed diagnoses, medication errors, and gaps in care. When the medical team communicates regularly, whether electronically or in person, they all have the same information and can see how much medication the patient receives or how much therapy they have had.

Improves care times

Waiting in a hospital emergency room to be seen or getting in to see a specialist is time-consuming, frustrating, and, in many cases, can be avoidable. When a collaborative team of physicians and nurses communicates efficiently about the patient’s care, and they can do it seamlessly, patient wait time becomes shorter.

An example of how this system can be improved with better communication is a patient coming into the emergency room with what could be a fracture in their foot or a break. An emergency room doctor needs to see them first, and they are then referred to get an X-ray. The X-ray results are available quickly, but a physician must check them.

With simple technology in communication devices, a doctor can do this from wherever they are and can recommend treatment based on the results. They can send a message to the care team that either suggests a cast for the break or bandages for a sprain or fracture. The doctor can then make other recommendations for physiotherapy or pain medication. This can all be done without the doctor in the same room because the rest of the healthcare team is in the loop with the treatment plan and know how to proceed.

Reduces healthcare costs

Collaboration in healthcare teams helps to reduce costs because it decreases the instances of medication errors, delivers better patient outcomes, and helps reduce workplace redundancies. It also saves a healthcare provider money in legal fees caused by patient lawsuits from mistakes in care. Issues such as wait times for surgeries, hospital beds, and length of stay can all be costly, and with proper communication between healthcare team members, they can all be reduced.

Builds relationships and team morale

An organization that promotes collaboration and open communication regarding patient care is far more likely to retain its staff and boost morale. It is well-known that members of a team who feel respected and valued will enjoy their jobs more and be open to the opinions of others. Team morale also includes the patient, who is integral to their care, and listening to the patient’s concerns and suggestions is key to successful holistic care. Every member of a collaborative medical team has an important role in providing the best holistic care.

Conclusion

If you are considering pursuing a nursing career, why not look into enrolling in a course today? If you are already working as a nurse and want to further your career, consider taking an advanced course such as a Master of Science in Nursing.

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Karla L. Branan
I am a doctor. I’m not the biggest fan of doctors, but I love to blog. I am a strong advocate for living a healthy lifestyle. I also believe in natural remedies and holistic care. I hope my blog helps people live healthier lives.