In the healthcare profession, the root cause of recurring medication administration errors is poor communication and lack of effective team work. A strong relationship among various professions of a healthcare unit is the basic requirement to avoid errors and improve clinical outcomes. Inter-professional collaboration is the actual practice of potential patient care from a team-based perception. It refers to the concept that the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment are made together, and the emphasis is on the patient’s health as a whole in spite of specific diagnosis or treatment. Each of the health professions must modify their aim towards better collaboration, sharing, and partnership rather than to function in solitude. Thus it promotes the sharing of information and working for a common cause where each profession gets to learn about other’s roles and responsibilities. IPC helps to ensure better performance of professionals with a minimum ratio of error. Without IPC, the improvement of the population’s health, cost reduction, patient’s experience, and satisfaction is unattainable. It is also reported that the patients who get attended by a proper IPC team are more satisfied with the care and treatment they receive. Also, in one study, the addition of psychologists to major care clinics ensured an improvement in the overall response of patient’s mental health and quality of life. This intervention thus helped in the development of trust and increased patient’s confidence in their care (Wei et al., 2020).
Our team of inter-professional collaboration consists of all major professions from a healthcare background constitutes of Physicians, Physician Assistants, Dentists, Nursing staff, Pharmacists, Technologists and lab technicians, Psychologists and emotional support providers, Therapists and rehabilitation specialists, Administrative staff and Community health workers Every professional of our healthcare team has its own crucial value for maintaining a balanced care provider unit for patients. For instance, when patients visit health clinics, it involves their interaction with many more people other than the doctor. Here is an example of all the healthcare professionals a patient come crosses during their visit to a physician. The administrative staff greets the patient, schedule the appointment, find the medical record of the patient, make a reminder call and verify the insurance-related information. The nursing staff records the patient’s weight and other significant signs, attend the patient in an examination room, and note the record of their visit.Physicians examine and deal with the patients to develop a diagnosis and plan their treatment outline. In case of Lab technicians, if a laboratory test is required, it is performed by a lab technician. Administrative staff also plays their role in the shipment of the sample. Further analysis of the sample will be done by the lab staff, and the results will be communicated to the patients by nursing staff or the physicians. If the treatment is required, the physician will prescribe the medication and will be entertained by the pharmacist. Billing staff processes the bills and insurance of their visits.
The specific roles and responsibilities of healthcare professionals are assigned in terms of their job and contract description. They are therefore, bound to monitor their professional norms, models, their clinical practices, organizational guidelines, working procedures, policies, strategies and protocols. If the roles and responsibilities of the heath care workers overlap, it can lead to a chaotic situation in the complex work environment and similarly the extended roles of healthcare officials and cross-professional working exercise are the common factors to create an ambiguous situation for the staff to function (Kaini, 2017). According to the professional conduct code, a registered health care professional is personally accountable for their actions and dealings. They must work in a collaborative and co-operative method in order to maintain a healthy environment and recognize each other responsibilities with respect (Reeves et al., 2017).
It is very obvious that creating an IPC is not an easy task. Several influential factors can affect our relationship with each other as it is a traditional culture of healthcare professionals to work independently. They are not used to work in collaboration across disciplines. Another barrier could be little knowledge of other’s role and standpoint and it ultimately leads to misconception, miscommunication, conflicts and lack of coordination. Despite of all the odds, a friendly environment can be created by following some steps as mentioned below:
- Make your interdepartmental workers talking and interacting with each other through communal citizenship activities.
- Leadership should verbally recognize and reward teamwork in the workplace, thus encouraging a healthy built-up of departments to collaborate with each other.
- Open-plan workplaces not only provide a better working environment with natural light and airflow but also prove to be an effective way where an enhanced interaction of the professionals takes place.
- Integrating teamwork at the workplace can also enhance the collaboration and dialogue between professionals and will help in the sharing of knowledge.
Kaini, B. K. (2017). Interprofessional Team Collaboration in Health Care. 17. http://creative-commons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/
Reeves, S., Pelone, F., Harrison, R., Goldman, J., & Zwarenstein, M. (2017). Interprofessional collaboration to improve professional practice and healthcare outcomes. In Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Vol. 2017, Issue 6). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD000072.pub3
Wei, H., Corbett, R. W., Ray, J., & Wei, T. L. (2020). A culture of caring: the essence of healthcare interprofessional collaboration. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 34(3). https://doi.org/10.1080/13561820.2019.1641476
Have you ever participated in formal team training? What does team training bring to the process of IPC?