Modern healthcare is all about teamwork, especially in hospitals and healthcare facilities. A transitioning home or rehab from a traditional inpatient experience involves a number of health professionals working together to give quality care to patients. Interprofessional collaboration is an effort made by the healthcare professionals and members of the community to come together and share opinions on how they can achieve a goal. The effort helps healthcare professionals get more knowledgeable and become better and more effective healthcare providers.
But how much are healthcare workers really working together? Unless they have frequent meetings or communicate via digital communication tools, the answer is probably not much.
And that is a problem because medicine is becoming increasingly specialized, care teams are becoming larger in size and it all requires even more interprofessional collaboration than ever.
What is interprofessional collaboration in healthcare, its advantages and/or challenges? And what healthcare communication apps or technology does one need to keep the team connected across shifts, health professions, and even different locations?
Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare
Interprofessional collaboration is an approach where people from different occupations work together to achieve common goals and solve complex problems. Healthcare organizations use this approach to improve awareness, autonomy, and accountability in the workplace as well as communication between care teams.
According to World Health Organization, interprofessional collaboration is defined as:
“multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds working together with patients, families, carers (caregivers), and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.”
One can say that this is what hospitals have been doing. However, interprofessional collaboration is more about data sharing and communication between nursing staff and clinicians or physicians. But interprofessional collaboration requires care team members to engage with each other and the patients in an effective manner.
There are three areas where interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is extremely beneficial.
Researchers from varying fields come together to investigate, discover and study in the scientific field. For example, someone studying vaccines can collaborate with an infectious disease doctor to understand the effectiveness of a medicine.
Healthcare professionals can use interprofessional collaboration in healthcare to learn about various other areas of their industry and apply that knowledge to further their careers. Learning about other disciplines strengthens clinicians’ capacity for providing better care.
This can be a great cross-functional group meeting or regular communication between different departments in healthcare settings. Each professional can share their thoughts on individual cases. This will lead to a better quality of care.
Advantages of Interprofessional Collaboration
Interprofessional collaboration can advance both an institution’s operations and the medical professionals who are working there. Here are the top benefits of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare.
Quality of Care
When teams collaborate and have a clear common goal, they can help each other to become more effective in proving quality care.
For example, if a patient comes to the emergency room and has particular symptoms and complaints, they will be looked at by different medical professionals who will diagnose the problem. Working together, these doctors can share their findings, assumptions, and recommendations to develop the best care plan and treatment for the patient, no matter how simple or complex the patient’s diagnosis is.
Education Across Different Departments
students can watch professionals outside of their programs in interprofessional education. Nursing students can engage in clinical studies with doctors. This is a great opportunity to learn and have growth between departments. if such knowledge comes to the workplace, it can promote cross-checking the information received and it will reduce medical errors
Healthcare professionals learn and develop skills depending on their assigned tasks and based on their daily interactions. For example, administrative professionals do possess excellent computer skills, while nurses display interpersonal skills. Interprofessional collaboration help nurses and administrative professional learn from each other and develop new skills that ultimately benefit the patients.
Positivity at Work
When a work environment is more collaborative it can help everyone speak up. it increases communication between nurses and doctors. Tech specialists, nurses, physicians and assistants can make contributions and feel valued.
All of this ends up in more job satisfaction, less turnover, and a positive work environment.
Challenges in Interprofessional Collaboration
As with any workplace approach and philosophy, the collaborative approach has a few challenges which can be mitigated.
Interprofessional collaboration can ask professionals to work together and make decisions together. when this happens, some personalities can clash and may view each other as rivals. they may have different ideologies and beliefs. to overcome conflicts, the leaders must encourage open communication.
Power relations can cause tension in the work environment, especially regarding the hierarchy in the organization. It is better to have a conflict resolution plan and create an effective reporting system for everyone to share their concerns openly. An effective HR hotline or ombudsman process can investigate if there are any systemic issues to address within an institution at a higher level.
Some professionals can fear that a collaborative environment could adversely affect the value of their professional identity. To overcome this struggle, healthcare organizations have to establish a culture that appreciates team members’ unique skills and expertise. This can limit the competitive aspect present in the group and encourage a collaborative workplace.
How to Implement Interprofessional Collaboration Successfully
Use these tips to identify paths towards greater interprofessional collaboration.
Consider your organization and what works for it:
Medical facilities may benefit from all aspects of interprofessional collaboration or just some parts of the approach. Examine and assess the value interprofessional collaboration can provide in your organization and consider implementing those elements wherever needed.
Collaboration is most effective in diverse groups operating independently.
Establish clear goals and values
Core values are critical when establishing a collaborative group where individuals have unique ideas, practices, and experiences. Clarifying and communicating common goals can help guide them to a specific result/outcome that the entire team shares.
Determine if there are any barriers that can create issues later on, like existing professional conflicts or funding concerns. Setting up time for group meetings in person or other ways to collaborate could cost money, so ensure your organization has the resources. Identifying and overcoming barriers can ensure that the implementation of interprofessional collaboration is smooth.
Reinforce the benefits of interprofessional collaboration
Simply finding the time to communicate can be a barrier for busy professionals to gain the benefits of interprofessional collaboration. Successful leaders recognize individuals who deliver better care by leveraging their team. Informal and formal recognition measures help people see the value of their teamwork and invest in it more.
Application That Facilitates Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare
More and more organizations are implementing interprofessional collaboration with the help of one hospital communication app; Hucu.ai. It is built for the healthcare industry and is a cost-effective way to incorporate interprofessional collaboration in a healthcare facility.
Hucu.ai is a healthcare communication app that allows care teams to communicate and collaborate seamlessly and securely on the go or at the point of care through text and even video. Healthcare professionals can collaborate about a specific patient in a channel in which only relevant staff members can be ‘invited to join’.
Care teams and multiple health professionals can share their observations at each interaction and update the whole channel so that the next doctor can have those perspectives in mind when checking out the patient.
Hucu.ai is a single platform for interprofessional collaboration in healthcare so that healthcare professionals can keep each other updated with patient developments and chances of errors are reduced. When a nurse or other provider can contact the appropriate doctor at any time with real-time notifications on Hucu.ai, she is more likely to not make a decision on her own that could be risky for the patient.
Hucu.ai is a HIPAA-compliant texting app that works on all iOS and Android devices as well as desktops. It is the perfect alternative to obsolete communication technology like pagers or silo communication methods like phone calls, fax, and emails that delay communication. Hucu.ai is a secure messaging app that offers real-time instant communication because everyone is using the same platform. One message sent in specific patient ‘channels’ reaches all relevant care team members and authorized family members at once – so everyone is in the loop.
When care team members are not physically present in the vicinity, they can instantly video conference call to get a visual and offer support/guidance, at any time of the day. It takes away the limitation to be physically present at certain hours at a certain place to provide care.
Hucu.ai is the best application that supports interprofessional collaboration in healthcare.
Tags: interprofessional collaboration, HIPAA.