When it comes to patient care, no one medical professional makes up the whole team. That's why interprofessional collaboration, or working with other medical providers to improve patient care, is key to creating an excellent healthcare experience.
Interprofessional collaboration is the term used to describe when two or more professionals work together on a shared goal or task. For example, a physical therapist and occupational therapist may collaborate when working with a patient with an injury to their hand. The physical therapist would focus on the patient's muscles, while the occupational therapist would focus on their daily function at home. Working as a team, they would collaborate on the best treatment options for the patient.
In other words, collaboration involves two or more professionals working in their capacities to help patients recover from their injury and return to their normal activities. Studies have shown that collaboration in healthcare leads to all of the following:
- Improved patient satisfaction
- Improved employee satisfaction and retention
- Decreased medical errors and preventable complications
Here are five more ways that interprofessional collaboration in healthcare can benefit you and your teams.
1. Higher Worker Retention
When you work in healthcare, it can feel like you're just one cog in a machine. Caring for patients is a crucial part of your job, but it's not the only factor that leads to workplace satisfaction. Higher worker retention is one of the most significant benefits of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare. Employees want to feel like their contributions matter. For this reason, companies that implement interprofessional collaboration programs tend to see lower turnover rates among their staff members than those that don't have these programs in place.
By allowing workers from different disciplines to work collaboratively on projects and share information, they can see how their contributions fit into the bigger picture. That can help them feel more engaged with their jobs and encourage them to stay longer in one organization.
2. Better Patient Care Quality
When members of different professions collaborate, they can be more effective at providing the best possible care to patients. For example, a nurse or physician's assistant might have a patient with a condition related to their specific area of expertise. They can work with other healthcare providers on the team to provide more diverse treatment options.
The same goes for physicians: if they're working with other medical professionals on a case, they can put their heads together when deciding on an appropriate course of action. A collaborative approach can help cut down on mistakes and injuries that could happen when medical professionals aren't working together.
3. Lowers Readmission Rates
Interprofessional collaboration is a critical part of lowering readmission rates. It is one of the most significant factors preventing patients from returning to the hospital after being discharged.
When it comes to treating patients, there are two things healthcare providers need to focus on: proper diagnosis and treatment. If a patient's treatment is not appropriate, they're more likely to end up back under medical care, which can be costly for hospitals.
A well-treated patient is more likely to be discharged from the hospital with all of their medications and follow-up appointments set, meaning that they have everything they need to keep themselves healthy once they leave. That's good for the patient, but it's also good for hospitals' bottom line and word-of-mouth reputation.
4. Promotes Communication
Collaboration requires effective and prompt communication. When healthcare professionals work together, they need to communicate their ideas and concerns to their team. For example, if a nurse has ideas for improving patient care, the doctor must understand these ideas in real time, or they won’t be able to implement them.
Healthcare professionals who are part of an interprofessional team can communicate important information about their patients. Communication is of utmost importance if a patient needs urgent care or treatment for a life-threatening condition. For instance, in a patient treated for diabetes, all members of the diabetes management team must know what medications they currently take and any recent changes.
5. Lower Error Rates
Especially in a healthcare setting, interprofessional collaboration is one of the most powerful tools for lowering error rates. Collaborating with nurses and medical assistants can help the doctor identify potential problems before they happen. This is particularly helpful in situations where doctors are rushed or feeling stressed. Collaboration can help prevent costly mistakes from happening in the first place.
Collaborating with other professionals allows the doctors to share their expertise with others in their field, assisting them with learning new technologies and gaining a deeper understanding of patient needs. Improving communication between team members leads to more efficient care and better outcomes for the patient.
For the organization as a whole, reduced error translates to reduced costs. When healthcare teams work together, they can share information and expertise so that each member can contribute their skills toward meeting the patient's needs. This approach helps reduce errors because it ensures that all relevant information is available to all healthcare providers involved in care delivery.
That means fewer duplicate tests and fewer redundant procedures. It may also reduce medical malpractice lawsuits because doctors and nurses can refer patients back to each other when they need more information or assistance with their diagnoses or treatment.
Interprofessional Collaboration Matters
In the healthcare industry, there is no room for error. The healthcare industry is one of the most complex and multi-faceted industries globally. With so many variables at play and so many players involved, it’s easy to see why it’s crucial for healthcare institutions to have a strong collaborative relationship with one another.
In short, healthcare requires the collaboration of multiple disciplines to provide the highest quality of care possible. And as healthcare has evolved, so have the ways to deliver it. The need for interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is more apparent than ever before.
QliqSOFT offers solutions for healthcare institutions looking to improve their communication tools. We strongly believe that developing a smooth flow of information between all members of an organization is key to providing the best care possible for patients and ensuring staff safety. Contact us today to learn more.
A lifelong communicator, this Tennessee native got his start in broadcast news before branching out into public media, corporate, communications, digital advertising, and integrated marketing. Prior to joining QliqSOFT as the company's first marketing team member, Ben shared his talents with organizations that include the University of Alabama, iHeartMedia, and The Kroger Company.
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