Discuss the role of interdisciplinary collaboration in providing comprehensive care to patients in a healthcare setting.

The Role of Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Providing Comprehensive Care to Patients in a Healthcare Setting
1. Introduction
Healthcare delivery is primarily focused on the “whole patient” approach, presupposing that researchers are keen to shift attention and resources from the singular treatment of diseases to a more holistic method of caring for them. In the modern healthcare system, constant technological changes and challenges, alongside ideological evolution and social developments, have implications for nursing professionals regarding new responsibilities and opportunities in caring for patients. The importance of moving to this “whole patient” approach is also enshrined in the Affordable Care Act, which is a legislative attempt to move the United States away from a singular emphasis on paying for procedures to a greater emphasis on paying for quality, itself premised on the delivery of comprehensive care. However, as the research will elucidate, the realization of successful interdisciplinary collaboration is contingent on the precise nature of the link between different professionals and the procedures shaping their cooperation, as well as the possibility of transfer from specific expressions of healthcare activity to a more generalized vision. The research titled “The Role of Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Providing Comprehensive Care to Patients in a Healthcare Setting” is therefore justified since it explains the theoretical precepts that underpin commitment to an interdisciplinary vision in healthcare and the presuppositions that drive the attempts to convert the idea into a working reality. The research will also assess critical aspects of such collaboration, such as the associated challenges and benefits, and the ways through which success can be practically realized in the actual implementation of a vision centered on comprehensive patient care. This is pertinent to not only healthcare workers and researchers who are engaged in such cooperation, but also to policymakers and administrators who are providing the background organizational support for such initiatives. With that in mind, drawing out the theoretical and philosophical basis of the interdisciplinary approach will form a core part of this study and aims at focusing on explaining its significance in the realization of comprehensive care, both for individual patients and for the overall organization of healthcare services.
1.1 Importance of interdisciplinary collaboration
Interdisciplinary collaboration consists of shared leadership, where all the members of the team are actively involved in the decision-making process and thereby contributing to the overall health outcome of the patients (Zwarenstein et al., 2005). Because of the involvement of individuals from different professions and specializations, the level of inter-professional education received is incomparable to none. Subsequently, this collaboration puts a sharper focus on patient-focused care. From the leaders in healthcare who hold administrative positions such as the hospital chief executive officers to the non-managerial clinicians like the physicians, nurses, physical therapists, the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration continue to be experienced all round. For the leaders, successful collaboration translates to better healthcare professions retention rates cutting across all the careers involved in interdisciplinary collaboration. It also leads to high morale and motivation among the healthcare workers, which translates into higher commitment and concurred efforts in achieving the healthcare goals and patients satisfaction. For the patients it leads to comprehensive care providing multiple perspectives to help in decision making, it eliminates repetition in the diagnostic process, and the patients have faster access to all-inclusive treatment from the various specialties and in the end, patients have access to the most cutting edge treatment available. It promotes patient-centered care. In a successful interdisciplinary collaboration, there is a greater emphasis placed on patient care. Every professional shares the positive things he/she does and comes together with other professionals to access and evaluate the weaknesses in their care. The long term benefits of the combined knowledge and clinical reasoning contributes to a more accurate diagnosis, selection of the most effective interventions and also producing the best health outcome for the patients, (White, 2008). Various studies have shown that interdisciplinary approach leads to improve quality of care, prevent medical errors, reduce hospital stays, decrease healthcare costs, and meet the needs of the current healthcare system. For instance, a sterling reference may be made from the study conducted by L, C. Walz, Blau and K. R. et al, (2015) where by working as an interdisciplinary team, they were able to reduce the average length of a hospital stay by up to 0.75 days, decrease the odds of readmission within 30 days of discharge by 21 percent and also achieve up to an average of 8,000 dollar reduction in total cost per discharge. Such studies continue to justify why interdisciplinary collaboration is growing in importance day by day and its place and value in a continually changing healthcare system.
1.2 Definition of comprehensive care
Table of contents:
1. Introduction
1.1 Importance of interdisciplinary collaboration
1.2 Definition of comprehensive care
1.3 Purpose of the research essay
Summary: “The research essay explores the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in providing comprehensive care to patients in a healthcare setting. It defines comprehensive care and emphasizes the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration, such as improved patient outcomes, enhanced communication and coordination, increased efficiency in healthcare delivery, and an enhanced understanding of complex patient needs. The essay also addresses the challenges faced in interdisciplinary collaboration, including overcoming professional boundaries and hierarchies, addressing communication barriers, and integrating different perspectives and expertise. Strategies for successful interdisciplinary collaboration are discussed, including establishing clear roles and responsibilities, promoting a culture of respect and trust, implementing effective communication channels, and encouraging ongoing education and professional development.”
Guideline 1. Use a formal tone in your response.
Guideline 2. Also exclude the topic, comments and do not mention number of characters in the result.
Guideline 3. The text should focus on delivering information, explaining concepts, or detailing processes or systems.
Guideline 4. Enhance text complexity, vary sentence structures, and reduce predictability.
Guideline 5. Ensure that the content for this section is coherent with the summary of the entire essay, reflecting its key ideas and themes.
The goal is to create a concise yet coherent text of about 1800 symbols, exploring the content for the section “1.2 Definition of comprehensive care”, that delivers concrete, specific, factual (where needed) information relevant to the title for the section. To achieve that, you have to achieve 5 equally important guidelines:
1.3 Purpose of the research essay
The purpose of the research essay is to effectively explore and provide a clear understanding of the role of interdisciplinary collaboration in the healthcare system. The essay aims to guide the reader through the benefits of such collaboration not only for the patient but also for every party involved, including the medical professionals, the patient’s family and friends, and the community. In the essay, interdisciplinary care will be defined and the types of medical professionals who work together and apply the interdisciplinary approach will be outlined. The essay will also provide examples of those professionals who work together, such as doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals, and those who do not, in order to illustrate the importance of the interdisciplinary approach. Furthermore, the research will highlight key features of working in an interdisciplinary team and the benefits that such an approach provides for the patient’s welfare. It will provide examples of such benefits and draw on evidence-based research to show how patient care is improved through interdisciplinary collaboration. The essay will also outline some of the barriers to the interdisciplinary approach and discuss the challenges that such an approach presents. This will include exploring the dynamics of working in a team in the healthcare system and the need for a broad and patient-centered view of healthcare provision. By addressing the potential problems that may be encountered by interdisciplinary work, the research aims to qualify the benefits of such an approach and give a comprehensive overview of patient-oriented, interdisciplinary care. Finally, the research essay will draw to a close by analyzing the importance of patient involvement in an interdisciplinary approach. The essay will touch on issues such as the patient’s opinion and patient’s rights, and it will provide examples as to what legislation stipulates in terms of patients’ involvement in the treating process. The essay will conclude by summarizing in a concise form the key points of the research and making a final emphasis on the significance of interdisciplinary care, as well as linking back to the central idea of the essay.
2. Benefits of Interdisciplinary Collaboration
2.1 Improved patient outcomes
2.2 Enhanced communication and coordination
2.3 Increased efficiency in healthcare delivery
2.4 Enhanced understanding of complex patient needs
3. Challenges in Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Although this is an effective way of working, it does not mean that it’s easy and occasionally there is a barrier that we must overcome. This indicates that many professions have a tendency to stick to their own group and not integrate, which may lead to inter-professional anxiety. “Competition among professions appears in the beginning of life when medical students’ education causes them to question nurses’ judgments and experience” (Hutchings, 1998). Students are taught within their curricula that other professionals have inferior understanding compared to their own profession. This enables senior members and healthcare professionals to encourage individualistic attitudes and decreases the success of a patient-centered approach in the future. One of the main challenges for interdisciplinary cooperation is the distinction between the sociopolitical construction of healthcare and the actual execution of care. There are many professionals involved in the provision of care for a patient, all of whom have knowledge and skills particular to their field, and the acceptance of everybody’s role is crucial to avoiding conflict. Communication frequently is multi-disciplinary and the patient should be made the center of attention. The NMC code of conduct considers respecting confidentiality coursehero and it’s important that healthcare professionals facilitate an open dialogue with patients about who else will be sharing their private information. Many problems that arise with collaboration come from conflicting schedules and the logistical issues created by having multiple professionals working together. Each discipline may have its own schedule or plan for the day, yet patients often have multiple health problems and may require help from a variety of disciplines. This means that caregivers must reach a sufficient level of organization and cooperation among themselves to provide the best possible care, and it’s mainly up to the professionals themselves to arrange who does what and when. However, it’s the patient’s needs that must come first and this inability to organize themselves should not impact the well-being of the individual. This can lead to delays in doctors and nurses performing their jobs, because the slowest healthcare professional determines when the interventions should be carried out… and so on…
3.1 Overcoming professional boundaries and hierarchies
These could be fear of repercussion for challenging a superior from a lower party, or a perceived lack of insight from superiors by subordinates. These professional divisions and hierarchies pose a significant barrier to the success of interdisciplinary collaboration. In order to successfully engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and achieve comprehensive care, it is important that health professionals work to overcome these boundaries and hierarchies. By fostering ways of breaking down these boundaries and engaging in a successful collaborative environment, it may become possible to reduce work based on professional identities and judgment but instead, pursue the development of a complete and third way of approaching patient care. It is not simply a question of trying to get health professionals to adhere to a different set of ‘good practice guidelines’ of a particular profession but to go beyond the level of practice the patient would receive from a single health profession alone – a truly interdisciplinary approach.
Similarly, professional hierarchies based on differences in power, resource allocation and social status between health professionals may further exacerbate these issues. Hierarchies can arise due to the multitude of professional roles in healthcare, with varying levels of power. For example, GPs fundamentally steer the patients’ care pathway and therefore exercise an ultimate authority over other health professions in the patient’s care team. However, the presence of hierarchy, by its very definition, opens itself to a growing number of factors that may impede an effective uptake of interprofessional working.
Despite the potential benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration in healthcare, many health professionals continue to be socialized into their respective professions, with different beliefs, values, and norms that shape their professional identities. The development of these professional boundaries can lead to an “us versus them” mindset, by which individuals primarily identify themselves as members of a particular discipline, rather than as part of a collaborative team. This can result in an ‘in-group’ bias where a preference is shown to members of one’s own group and can lead to ‘out-group’ neglect and rejection, where other groups – and by extension other people’s views – are dismissed.
3.2 Addressing communication barriers
One of the main challenges in interdisciplinary collaboration is addressing communication barriers. Effective communication among the healthcare team is essential for successful interdisciplinary care. Without a shared understanding built through good communication, professional differences in understanding and practice may exacerbate an already challenging interdisciplinary process. As we can see, each discipline has its own language and style of communication. The use of medical jargon, for instance, can alienate non-medically qualified professionals and patients. Sometimes, this difference can be seen in major communication breakdowns commonly due to these reasons: members not knowing what or when to communicate, how to communicate, lack of understanding the context or the information being passed, various expectations from these communicators. To tackle this problem, the research of Banfield and her team in 2012 identified several key strategies, including the provision of greater access to communication techniques and interaction, steps towards the highest level of language analysis allowing not only providing common ground for practice but also helping new parties be integrated more easily. Moreover, specifically for clinical communication, creation and maintenance of a good established relationship among healthcare professionals may enable higher awareness of each other’s cognitive state and provide a means for understanding how roles and responsibilities may change dynamically over time. She also suggests that team members could attend role-specific workshops delivered by the team as part of the internal education program. Another common problem that we need to be aware of is the number of cultural differences. A study has found that patients are also directly affected by interprofessional communication difficulties. It is revealed that patients are often confused by conflicts and contradictions between professionals and also their care might be delayed because of these confusions. This understanding has led the NHS to make provision for the development of communication skills as a key aspect of interprofessional education. It encourages clinical staff from different backgrounds to make use of services. This could range from more conventional workshops through to online resources. Both methods provide opportunities for staff to learn about communication needs of other disciplines and how to modify their communication styles accordingly to make the interaction more effective! It is quite important, however, that healthcare professionals consider their own cultural and language practice norms when they engage in communication with other professions – cultural competence. Thorne in 2008 argues that the linguistic and communication skills are streamed through great challenges of modern clinical education and becoming a central part of both professional attribute and academic performance. He suggests that embedding communication skill teaching within the clinical education program may offer a more patient-centered and ethically sounder base for professional practice. On the other hand, as early as in 1995 Griffith and Tengnah introduced a communication study providing many advantages of interprofessional education. It states that, by creating opportunities for students, students could work together and should understand better what each profession contributes. It makes them better equipped to work and communicate with other professions once they qualify and that often keeping patients up to date with developing practices and treatments – meeting the needs of patients.
3.3 Integrating different perspectives and expertise
Effective interdisciplinary collaboration begins with recognizing and respecting the unique knowledge and expertise of each team member, and building a “shared mental model” of patient care that integrates these varying perspectives. According to Klimoski and Palmer (1993), a shared mental model is a concept derived from team cognition research, which describes a team’s common understanding of the goals and methods and how an effective mental model should be structured around the tasks or goals to be accomplished. By working together to create an evolving unity of this concept that acknowledges individual expertise, the team may then use it to synthesize problem solving and planning. This may involve large group discussions, attending rounds, or even informal meetings amongst various team members, according to Varkey (2008). No matter what form the discussions take, the patient is the centerpiece of the conversation and each member’s perspective – from the attending physician to the nurse to the social worker – is given a platform for expression and scrutiny. However, research suggests that outcomes from this voluntary type of interdisciplinary work can often lack any true integration. Krishna et al (2011) found that in a study of interdisciplinary work practice and management in primary care, collective decision-making with varying managerial levels was observed. This division of hierarchy was so deeply ingrained in day-to-day work that true equality of professional and intellectual medical input was nearly impossible; hierarchical holdovers, such as the deference paid to a ‘lead’ doctor by nurses and support staff, simply could not be overwritten in the space of interdisciplinary collaboration. The same study also observed departmentalization of interdisciplinary roles; that is, each worker identifies first not as a ‘healthcare provider’, but as a ‘nurse’, ‘doctor’ or ‘field expert’. This fragmentation of collective understanding and identity makes the construction of a cogent, interdisciplinary model of healthcare even more challenging. However, the significance of collective, or non-voluntary, forms of interdisciplinary work is not to be underestimated. By working to fulfill an overarching, externally set objective, the development of a true collaboration that draws on varying expertise in a focused, results-oriented manner becomes a realistic aim, according to Friis and Creager (2008). Such a ‘team’ approach to patient care is emerging across the globe, as the World Health Organization (2010) continues to promulgate ‘people-centered’ healthcare that “stresses the importance of seeing patients as individuals with families and communities” and putting these individuals as “the focus of attention through the [healthcare] process”.
4. Strategies for Successful Interdisciplinary Collaboration
The success of an interdisciplinary team approach requires a number of ongoing strategies. Based on the literature, it seems that healthcare teams can be guided by five major principles that can apply to any field. They include open and continuous communication, clear leadership roles and structures, effective decision-making processes, leveraging diversity of knowledge and skills among team members, and active reflection and improvement of teamwork. Tong et al. (2016) suggests in the literature that step-down unit team members believe that digital exchange of information and open communication are key to improving patient care and outcomes with the use of a shared electronic system for the healthcare team. In fact, Tong et al. provides a number of digital strategies for team building within the healthcare environment. These include the development of a shared informatics system, the use of health information technology applications for decision support within interdisciplinary team meetings, and promoting digital literacy for team members. Ribble and Mejia (2004) describe digital literacy as the ability to use technology as a tool to research, organize, evaluate and communicate information and the need for faculty to prepare students with a curriculum with a foundation of digital literacy. In terms of the principle of clear leadership roles and structures, Hall et al. (2016) in his implementation of team-based care, describes leadership as a dynamic, multidirectional process involving successive influence among team members, rather than indicating a linear, vertical mode of influence from the top down. However, he suggests that initial success would not have been achievable without recruitment of a leader or medical director, the alignment of this former leader with a participating leader and the acceptance of a new co-leader amongst existing team members. He describes a formal and informal leadership structure which is ‘process’ based, focusing on the dynamics of decision-making and adapting to changes, with an emphasis on leadership development.
4.1 Establishing clear roles and responsibilities
As everyone involved in a patient’s care will be working towards the achievement of the same goals, potential miscommunications need to be minimized right from the outset. Interdisciplinary teams should assign a team leader. This person may change according to the requirements of a certain stage of the patients’ care, however the leadership should always be clearly established and whose responsibility it is to coordinate and make a final decision in the event of any disputes or differences of opinion. One of the key benefits of establishing clear leadership is that it also becomes clear who is responsible for each element of the patient’s care. In addition, it will help the team to effectively prioritize, plan and coordinate tailored care packages. All too often, ineffective communication is seen as underpinning the provision of effective patient care. It can help to manage packages of care on a day-to-day basis, maintaining and improving quality and well as safety of patient care and it may also help to identify new, emerging needs on a timely basis and ensure the appropriateness of care over a longer period. Fostering a team environment, where each participant’s opinion and experience is valued and respected, is crucial. When multidisciplinary team members trust each other’s expertise and judgment, communication becomes open, respectful and productive. However, it is also important to establish some ground rules for how a team should operate and this should be laid out in a team charter, a standard and as well understood set of principles and practices that will guide action as a way to help the group achieve its goals – in our case, providing high quality, effective patient care. The team charter should be created during the initial stages of the team development, and it should regularly reviewed and updated. All team members – both existing and any new starters – should be familiarized with the team charter and commitment to its principles should be included in staff appraisal processes. By doing so, it will create a strong team identity, a shared understanding of good teamwork and a clearer direction to help improve the effectiveness of patient care.
4.2 Promoting a culture of respect and trust
By promoting open and transparent communication, and allowing nursing skills to be recognized and critiques accepted via the shared-values approach, it is possible to undermine traditional hierarchies and progress towards more integrated and patient-centered care. Introducing a new model of patient care led to re-evaluation of the competency frames that different disciplines utilize.
The daily multitasking that most nurses deal with easily transfers into interdisciplinary team work, but there is a specific challenge in the sense of providing safe and effective care alongside professionals who have more and less autonomy than nursing. A ‘trust model’ of communication is useful in understanding how nurses’ expertise may be utilized in different team situations. The model dictates that there are three types of expertise: subjective, intermediary, and scientific. It is evident that within healthcare there is a mise en scene where doctors are situated as having scientific expertise, whilst the nurses’ expertise is that of the intermediaries. This model may lead to a hierarchical understanding of patient care where the most autonomous ‘experts’ assign nurse’s roles as subordinate to their own and reject the modern view of an interdisciplinary approach.
One key component in promoting a shared-values approach is to provide a video on, say, the team’s website. The video could feature both practitioners and service users discussing their perspectives on the values of the interdisciplinary team and the benefits of a coherent approach to patient care. This would evidence to new or prospective service users the team’s commitment to a coherent and integrated provision.
But for a strong and effective interdisciplinary approach that is founded on high-quality patient care, the team’s values should promote a person-centered approach, and the patient placed in the best position to be in control of decisions about their care. Shared values encourage boundary dissolution and more integrated care, from both a theoretical perspective and in practice. However, these shared values need to be more than a list of welfarist statements; instilling the values into the work of individual practitioners and the collective team is a difficult and ongoing process.
In many cases, the clinical leadership of the team will provide the strategic vision and purpose that the team needs, with a mission to be the best in the field and a set of core values that will underpin behavior and decision making. These might be developed using quality improvement methods such as a ‘SWOT’ (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, which is a planning tool used to understand potential for success in a project.
In order to implement a successful interdisciplinary collaboration, it is critical for all team members from different disciplines to share a common set of values that promotes a positive work culture. Such a culture should be based on the principles of mutual respect, trust, understanding, and appreciation of each other’s contribution. The primary focus should be on what is best for the patient and that every team member has a role to play in achieving the best clinical outcomes.
4.3 Implementing effective communication channels
Therefore, in the third section of the essay, the ways to achieve effective interdisciplinary collaboration are explored. It suggests that creating a common language that team members can use among themselves, team leaders should be trained to develop effective teams, the support for interdisciplinary teams that the organization already has should be identified and more support should be provided, and technology should be used to promote communication among the team members. The essay highlights the importance of information and communication technologies such as social media. Celliers and Pimmer in their paper found that learning networks embodying interdisciplinary and collaborative work may benefit from Mediated Environments for ‘Social Network’. These provide space for individual profiles, but crucially they also give the ability to create own networks and display or make asymmetrical overt links between individuals’ profiles, thus adding support for external visualizations of social network typologies. Such technology-enabled methods are essential because, according to another study explained in the essay, ‘Interdisciplinary education and teamwork are promoted within a patient-focused environment’. Work by Bosse, Tuntig, and Cornett suggests that this approach ‘requires the establishment of conditions for successful interdisciplinary education and practice, such as: environment for teaching and working together, faculty and other resources, and facilitation by deans, directors, and academic and practice professionals’. Its focus to some extent is primarily about the foundation period and how to obtain interdisciplinary knowledge among students; however, it clearly showed how different parties and members work and communicate with each other. Also, the study reveals that all participating health professions in the community were encouraged in the provision of effective learning experiences to health profession students. On the other hand, Enziger and Meister stated in the essay that ‘collaboration can only function effectively if disciplines communicate with each other’. They point out that patterns of communication in the collaborative enterprises of team science help determine the effectiveness and utility of interdisciplinary work. The essay concluded from these studies is that interdisciplinary collaboration can be achieved by providing the necessary environment, facilitation, and resources and implementing new technologies in promoting effective communication among different professionals in healthcare.
4.4 Encouraging ongoing education and professional development
Healthcare professionals must engage in continuing education throughout their careers. Continued education is essential for healthcare professionals to keep their knowledge and skills up to date. Healthcare professionals working together collaboratively must do this to an equal extent, since they all will make a valuable contribution to the care provided by their team. Collaborative care must take account of the significant differences in knowledge and training that different professions bring to the team. These differences must be respected, and professionals must trust one another to take account of the unique contribution each profession can make to the care provided to patients. If any member of the team, or the patient, doubts the value of any one professional’s opinion, the effectiveness and success of the patient’s care will be compromised. Also, by furthering their knowledge, they will constantly push the boundaries of best practice, helping to evolve medical processes and treatments. But how do you improve your knowledge? Knowledge can be gained in many different ways but it is widely recognised that training and education are important for healthcare professionals. As a way to encourage further education and professional development, healthcare providers can schedule regular training sessions specifically designed to educate more on the services that the staff provide. This may encourage employees to consider any further education that could improve their professional development and thus enhance the quality of the care and services provided at a facility. Also, it is necessary for the providers of healthcare to investigate and invest in the industry’s latest technology. Every day there are advances in medical technology and having access to the latest equipment and being knowledgeable on the most current processes and procedures can lead to improved patient care and higher work satisfaction. By taking account of such a process, positive changes can lead to significant benefits, ensuring a patient-centered approach wherever possible in the delivery of health services and ultimately aiding in better patient outcomes.

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