Maximizing scarce healthcare resources with data-driven, team-based care
As the healthcare industry continues its journey toward value-based care, providers are eager to employ resource-saving strategies that reduce costs, improve outcomes, and optimize patient and provider experiences.
Digital solutions, such as electronic health records (EHRs) and population health management tools, play an important role in stretching limited peoplepower and connecting patients to proactive holistic care. But in order to be at their most efficient and effective, providers also need to rethink the way they work with patients – and each other – everyday in the clinic.
Integrated, multidisciplinary care teams offer a promising way to ensure that all staff members are working to the top of their licenses without overextending themselves. By collaborating with colleagues to deliver holistic, proactive services, providers can prevent gaps in care and work toward better outcomes for their patient populations.
What is team-based care?
According to the National Academy of Medicine, “team-based care” occurs when two or more healthcare professionals work collaboratively with a patient and their caregivers to achieve shared goals.
Care teams can be centered in a single setting, such as a registered nurse, behavioral health counselor, and physician delivering integrated primary care at a community health center. Teams can also span multiple settings to include specialist physicians, acute care providers, long-term care providers, and/or home health clinicians.
Care teams are designed to ensure that all clinicians are using their skills fully and appropriately while meeting the individualized needs of each patient. This is particularly important as providers adopt value-based care models with financial levers that emphasize holistic, preventive care.
How can care teams enhance value?
Team-based care is associated with better outcomes for patients, higher job satisfaction for providers, more efficient use of resources, and improved experiences for patients and their caregivers.
For example, a recent study of the Veterans Affairs Health System found that team-based care resulted in 4.5 fewer all-cause hospitalizations per 1000 patients. Meanwhile, care teams at Intermountain Healthcare have seen dramatically higher rates of depression screening, care planning, and adherence to diabetes protocols.
Which technologies can make care teams even more effective?
Team-based care can be even more impactful when clinicians are equipped with technology solutions to help them communicate with each other, with patients, and with caregivers.
Providers can enhance basic EHR capabilities with dedicated care management tools that offer data-driven workflows tailored to different types of clinicians. These technologies typically include risk stratification features to guide clinical action and prevent gaps in care.
Patient portals, remote monitoring devices, and other virtual health tools can keep providers connected with patients around the clock, while health information exchange infrastructure strengthens the flow of insights between disparate healthcare organizations.
Providing these technologies to multidisciplinary care teams can boost productivity and prevent critical patient information from falling through the cracks. With the combination of well-oiled care teams and meaningful health IT tools, provider organizations can maximize their existing resources while delivering coordinated care and fostering patient-provider satisfaction.
Jennifer Bresnick is a journalist and freelance content creator with a decade of experience in the health IT industry. Her work has focused on leveraging innovative technology tools to create value, improve health equity, and achieve the promises of the learning health system.