The healthcare system has gone through numerous transformations in the last decades. When the lack of information and knowledge about diseases was the primary concern, the industry put its focus on research and development. The current landscape, however, encompasses numerous challenges to the healthcare industry. First, continuous research is required to battle emerging threats. Second, healthcare costs have increased drastically, which necessitates the development of alternative delivery models. Value-based care is gaining dominance, and suitable tools and strategies are required to support it. Healthcare management teams have been proposed as the solution, and it has become evident that team-based care has a majority of benefits. This patient-centered method is the desired approach for health delivery today. Institutions, including the World Health Organization, are using healthcare management teams to improve patient outcomes, provide holistic care, and tailor services for specific populations.
The healthcare industry is evolving in an attempt to address the contemporary challenges of society in terms of well-being. Both the government and private organizations are working toward reforms because previous approaches no longer meet the needs of the modern world. Among the emerging trends in the application of healthcare management teams when providing services to patients. This method seeks to replace a more traditional procedure where each doctor or nurse works in isolation. This paper will explore the application of care management teams in the current industry setting and will explain how this methodology can improve patient outcomes.
Motivations Behind Team-based Care
From Illness to Wellness
Service-based care was relevant when patients were focused on alleviating the impact of specific illnesses and treating health conditions. Today, however, society is shifting toward wellness, which is a term that encompasses a healthy lifestyle, diet, and favorable mental and physical well-being (McGough et al., 2017). To achieve this objective, a holistic approach to healthcare is necessary. A patient should be assigned a team, members of which have different qualifications and specialize in separate wellness concepts. By gathering these professionals and providing them with a common plan, it is possible to elevate the impact of health services (McGough et al., 2017). Haughom (2017) suggests that coordinated care is more likely to improve patient outcomes and experience along the treatment continuum than traditional service-based methods. It is evident that providing care through management teams in the future of the industry. It is no longer sufficient to treat emerging illnesses – health providers need to be able to prevent them and improve the quality of life among patients.
Most healthcare organizations are switching to a value-based care delivery model. This paradigm infers that providers are compensated according to patient outcomes (McGough et al., 2017). Therefore, it is in a hospital’s or medical center’s interest to ensure that patients meet their health goals. Care management teams emerged to facilitate this new delivery model (McGough et al., 2017). The approach is similar to how project teams and a client interact with each other in other industries. For instance, when an individual wants to have a building constructed, various team members communicate with the client to elicit requirements to deliver the exact product the client needs. In healthcare, teams serve a similar function – the team lead is responsible for coordinating the effort while others provide care in which they specialize. The significant difference from traditional approaches is that individual actions within a team environment are interdependent; therefore, communication is essential (McGough et al., 2017). All team members have the same goal – maximizing the value for a patient and improving their health outcomes. Cost-effectiveness can also be reached by this approach because patients pay only for favorable results.
Current Applications and Results
Team-based care is being introduced to a variety of healthcare settings. One of the most critical applications of care management teams is in primary care. Besides treating and preventing illnesses, primary care professionals try to ensure that patients have fulfilled lives despite their health conditions. Isolated efforts of individual physicians and nurses are not sufficient to achieve this objective. Therefore, coordinated team-based care is recommended – the World Health Organization (WHO) (2018) suggests that the approach is suitable for managing a variety of chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. WHO (2018) also claims that implementing care management teams is a cost-efficient method for providing holistic care. Enhanced patient support and improved quality of life when treating cardiovascular disease are among the mentioned benefits of team-based healthcare (WHO, 2018). These advantages are achieved through a pre-planned and coordinated workflow where a patient has constant access to care services and information (WHO, 2018). This access facilitates the patient in making informed decisions and healthy choices every day. Pre-visit, visit, and post-visit algorithms can be developed to streamline the process of health delivery.
Alleviating Race Disparities
Race is a critical factor in healthcare inequality in the United States. Blacks have higher mortality rates and lower life expectancy than whites (Giddens et al., 2019). The reason is the unequal distribution of resources, opportunities, and healthcare services (Giddens et al., 2019). There is evidence, however, that care management teams have the capacity to alleviate some of the disparities. For instance, to decrease the gap between blacks and whites with hypertension, a group of researchers devised a team-based care management plan (Bartolome et al., 2016). By assembling a multilevel team trained for delivering culturally tailored services, scientists were able to decrease the gap by 50% (Bartolome et al., 2016). WHO (2018) suggests that one of the most important attributes of team-based care is the ability of a physician to train their colleagues in a collaborative environment. Knowledge and experience exchange facilitates the overall efficacy of a team. Bartolome et al. (2016) relied on the same principle when training their team. The result was that physicians could serve more people because some of their responsibilities were delegated to other team members without deteriorating the quality of care.
Healthcare management teams have a variety of benefits, but the most important is that they make a value-based delivery model possible. This new approach to healthcare is based on the goal of improving patient outcomes and maintaining their life quality at a high level. Team-based health provision ensures that patients receive holistic care and have enough information to make informed decisions. The World Health Organization recommends this practice as a method for treating chronic illnesses. Other organizations have successfully applied healthcare management teams for different purposes, including the mitigation of racial disparities. In summary, care management teams are only a tool, while the main goal has not changed for many years. Improving patient outcomes is the prioritized objective of the modern healthcare system.
Bartolome, R. E., Chen, A., Handler, J., Platt, S. T., & Gould, B. (2016). Population care management and team-based approach to reduce racial disparities among African Americans/blacks with hypertension. The Permanente Journal, 20(1), 53-59. Web.
Giddens, A., Duneier, M., Appelbaum, R. P., & Carr, D. (2019). Essentials of sociology (7th ed.). W. W. Norton & Company.
Haughom, J. (2017, April 18). The modern care management team: Tools and strategies evolve, but outcomes improvement goal remains. Health Catalyst. Web.
McGough, P., Kline, S., & Simpson, L. (2017). Team care approach to population health and care management. International Journal of Health Governance, 22(2), 93-103. Web.
World Health Organization. (2018). [PDF document]. Web.