The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a critical need for care that is customized, patient-centered, cost-effective and, most of all, successful. Team-based care checks all of these boxes and more.

It’s increasingly becoming the norm in many hospitals and health systems … and for good reason. Patients receive the benefit of multiple minds and skillsets, in close communication, orchestrating individual care plans that have proven highly effective — delivering both value and improved outcomes.

The strong argument for team-based care is outlined in a new issue brief from AHA’s The Value Initiative.

The brief reviews various models, including interdisciplinary versus multidisciplinary teams, and stresses the hallmarks of the team approach: shared goals, clearly understood roles, mutual trust and effective communication. As a physician, I can attest to how important these qualities are to successful patient care.

Team-based care is a promising, low-tech approach that allows health care workers from varying professional disciplines to collaborate and minister to not only the physical, but also the psychological and spiritual needs of their patients. It provides benefits at all levels of care, including palliative.

Feedback from the field is very encouraging. For example, Intermountain Healthcare’s Mental Health Integration team approach has saved $13 million per year, primarily through reduced unnecessary utilization of the emergency department and hospital visits. And in New York, Montefiore Health System’s integrated team of primary care providers has won patients over — 72% of patients reported feeling more connected to the care team and expressed overall satisfaction with their care.

COVID-19 has magnified the advantages of care teams, enabling providers to respond more effectively to patient needs … and also to support one another. While team-based care approaches vary from hospital to hospital, the basic precepts are covered in AHA’s new video series, “TeamSTEPPS for the COVID-19 Crisis.”.

In most settings and professions, people thrive when they are a part of a team. They share knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm for a group goal, and they leverage the unique skills and expertise of all team members. Health care is no exception. And when we work as a team — all of us, especially our patients — are the winners.

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