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Team is key to efficiency and quality care

As patient-centered medical homes become a larger part of the healthcare system, it’s important that all the participants be trained on how to work in teams, said Larry Mauksch, M.Ed., during the Maine Primary Care Association’s annual conference held this week.

One of the biggest challenges those in healthcare face during this time of change in the industry will be transforming “a bunch of individual functions into a … team,” said Mauksch, a senior lecturer in the family medicine department at the University of Washington, during his presentation, “Optimizing Patient Experience, Efficiency and Team Member Satisfaction: Training Designs for Remediation and Growth.” In primary care, “time demands are enormous,” he said. “The solution is teamwork.”

In making his case for teamwork, Mauksch pointed out that there is too much work to be done for one person and that working in teams has been shown to produce better outcomes – for patients and for medical staff. However, while the importance of teamwork is talked about, getting it operational on the ground is another matter.

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In the patient-centered medical home model, Mauksch noted, there has been an intense focus on infrastructure – electronic health records, electronic prescribing, information tracking – so much so that the care side where communication and teamwork are key is often lagging or is ignored.

Team training using self-evaluation, peer evaluation, role modeling and practice, practice, practice, can create effective and efficient teams, Mauksch said. An effective, trained team working together results in more efficient and effective care and helps engage patients in their care.

Making teamwork a central component of care requires a culture change for most organizations, but that culture change, Mauksch said, is “synonymous with clinical significance.”

Follow HFN associate editor Stephanie Bouchard on Twitter @SBouchardHFN.