The success of continuous quality improvement (CQI) efforts depends to a large extent on the level of the efficiency of clinical teams. General CQI approaches are underpinned by a host of philosophies that are specific to their applications in practical terms (Sollecito & Johnson, 2013). However, despite the availability of CQI approaches such as Lean and Six Sigma, their practical implementation can be undermined by the insufficiency of team efforts. This paper aims to discuss the role of multidisciplinary team working in the delivery of safe, effective, efficient, patient-centered, timely, and equitable care within the student’s health system.
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The ever-changing context of healthcare delivery necessitates close coordination and cooperation between interdisciplinary team members. It has to do with the fact that shorter waiting times, monetary constraints, and understaffing propels healthcare practitioners to increase the level of their productivity and quality of care delivery. It is especially important for the management of complex medical conditions such as diabetes and cancer. Healthcare scholars concur that the team approach to the delivery of healthcare is much efficient in producing effective, timely, and safe outcomes than the individual-focused approach (Sollecito & Johnson, 2013).
The student’s experience has shown that the development of successful interdisciplinary practice is a matter of team cooperation. This sentiment is closely aligned with the findings of a study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) that point to the fact that professional communication and team collaboration are at the core of improving the quality of patient outcomes (AHRQ 2008). Judging from the student’s tenure in an interdisciplinary team, the effectiveness of cooperation can be undermined by the diffusion of control. It follows that for the purpose of improving the multidisciplinary culture at an organization, it is imperative to establish strong leadership as a means of establishing clear lines of control, thereby preventing the erosion of job satisfaction. The salience of this point is underscored by a study that shows a connection between strong organizational leadership and the quality of patient-and system-level outcomes (Sayah, Szafran, Robertson, Bell, & Williams, 2014).
It can be argued that the provision of safe and efficient care hinges on the ability of team members to manage the ever-increasing complexity and multidimensionality of the multidisciplinary culture. It follows that in order to deliver the higher quality of care, it is necessary to focus on the improvement of the following facets of the work environment: staff motivation, commitment, engagement, cooperation, and communication. To this end, individuals occupying managerial positions within the healthcare setting should facilitate the removal of barriers to multidisciplinary professional relations. Support and open discussion of key issues are known methods of enhancing teamwork, which will inevitably translate into better patient outcomes (Watson, 2012). It is especially important to pay close attention to nurse-physician relationships since they are “major facilitators for nurses’ role and overall teamwork” (Sayah et al., 2014, p. 2975). Another avenue for addressing the quality gap in the delivery of healthcare services is to achieve a greater level of role clarity, which ameliorates the exposure of the team members to undue occupational stressors, thereby preventing their burnout.
The paper has discussed the importance of the multidisciplinary approach to the delivery of healthcare services at the high level of performance. It has been argued that the key qualitative components of healthcare delivery can be improved to a significant extend by placing a strong emphasis on the team relationships within a healthcare setting. The paper has also offered several methods of strengthening the team cohesion and removing the excessive exposure to occupational stressors as a means of achieving better patient outcomes.
Sayah, F., Szafran, O., Robertson, S., Bell, N. R., & Williams, B. (2014). Nursing perspectives on factors influencing interdisciplinary teamwork in the Canadian primary care setting. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 23, 2968-2979.
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Sollecito, W. A., & Johnson, J. K. (2013). Continuous quality improvement in health care (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Watson, J. (2012). Human caring science: A theory of nursing (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.