What is Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare?

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Hospitals these days are not just centers where patients can seek a cure. They're also a collaborative area where every department, from tech and physicians to pharmaceuticals, communicates to give patients the best diagnostics possible.

In a routinized world, communications regarding X-ray results and medicine prescriptions occur via generic communication tools such as chats or calls. But how efficient are these methods?

What is Interprofessional Collaboration?

Before we find a solution to the problem, we must understand how the concept of interprofessional collaboration comes into the picture in today's healthcare systems.

The World Health Organization introduced a new concept called "team-based" care for patients in a primary care environment back in 1972. This concept refers to a process in which multiple professionals, each with their subject of expertise, work together for the sake of the patient.

These professionals include nurses, caregivers, doctors, physicians, pharmaceuticals, etc. But?

Well, this statement is partly true.

The communication between professionals has been for data sharing. But in the case of interpersonal collaboration, we have an additional aspect that comes into the picture. Here, the team doesn't just communicate about data, but they also communicate directly with the patient.

With different specialists working with the same patient, the final report on the patient's problem becomes more holistic and detailed. In return, it helps the team diagnose the issue much more efficiently. 

Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare

Now that we've gone through the basics of interprofessional collaboration, let's have a look at the benefits it offers:  

1. Better Patient Diagnostics

To understand this statement, let's consider an example.

Think about a patient who is about to have open-heart surgery. A cardiologist will be the right specialist to successfully pull it off. The problem is that a cardiologist is bound only to any issues related to the human heart.

Now, if the patient has diabetes, then a diabetologist is needed for a better idea of the patient's physical state and whether or not they will be able to sustain the surgery. After the surgery, the patient is moved from the ICU to the recovery room.

He will then meet with a bedside nurse to help him with his aftercare. Not just that, but he even interacts with the room cleaning service responsible for keeping his room sanitized every time. Also, a pharmaceutical specialist provides the patient with the necessary medications for his overall development.

In the scenario described, it involves not just one doctor but a set of professionals in various departments coming together to diagnose a patient. In such cases, good collaboration is critical.

If, by mistake, there is miscommunication at any point, then it might lead to a wrong diagnosis. 

2. Less Medical Errors

In the above statement, we spoke about how an inefficient communication method can lead to a wrong diagnosis. That wrong diagnosis is what we call medical error. Statistics show that almost 200,000 individuals die due to medical treatment errors.

By implementing interpersonal collaboration, we can minimize and, with practice, totally eradicate this issue. 

3. Less Overall Costs and Inefficiencies 

Miscommunication usually leads to inefficiencies in the treatment (and also the administration), along with the trouble of the patient spending more money for extra tests that might be necessary.

For example, if there is miscommunication with a radiology report, the doctor may suggest the patient retake the test. That will lead to the patient spending more time in the hospital, making empty rooms obsolete in emergency cases.

By adapting to the process of interpersonal collaboration, a patient can reduce their overall expenses. It's a win-win situation for both parties. 

4. Promotes and Improves Teamwork

Today, almost every task involves teamwork. People with unique mindsets and skills come together to solve a problem efficiently. And this statement is much more applicable when it comes to the healthcare industry.

Everyone responsible for the patient should work in a team to achieve good results (which, in this case, involves life or death). A positive aspect of working in a group is having teammates you can rely on when uncertainties arise.

Also, with several minds working with one another, pressure is equally distributed among the teammates, taking off the burden from one person's shoulder. 

5. Improves Job Satisfaction 

In healthcare, all you care about is how well the patient progresses. Interprofessional collaboration speeds up this process without giving up the quality of treatment. And so, by dawn, both you as a doctor and your patient are happy.

This job satisfaction helps you with your mental health, which further motivates you to do even better in your field of study. 

6. Promotes Patient-centric Care 

Patient-centric care is a process where all employees are focused on a patient's needs. In the healthcare system, everyone from doctors to nurses to the administrative staff work towards providing their customers with the best experience ever. And so, having good interprofessional collaboration will assist you in this process.  

The Key Takeaway

The basis for implementing interprofessional collaboration is getting proper training. A Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration will be the best starting point for your education in this domain. In the program, students will learn how to manage an organization under multiple disciplines to improve patient outcomes. 

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American Vision University (AVU) offers graduate degree programs in Business and Healthcare such as Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MS), in addition, to professional short-term certification courses in Business, I.T and Healthcare.
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