Multidisciplinary Success: Fighting Operational Echo Chambers

As we step into the new year, a new political era, and a new horizon of healthcare policies, it’s an opportunity to reflect on our experiences.

Some healthcare organizations are well beyond the growing pains of an electronic health record (EHR) implementation. One might even declare these organizations are operating like well-oiled machines. Day in and day out, health professionals capture pertinent medical information and provide care within the parameters of their individual roles. We are finally reaping the benefits of an integrated model of healthcare. Long forgotten is the fragmentation of the past, as information seamlessly transfers across organizations.

While technology is one of the great unifiers of integrated care delivery, it is not uncommon to see siloed problem solving and decision making when it comes to implementing enterprise technology. Fragmentation within organizations still exists, because it is a product of human nature. The term ‘echo chamber’ has become quite popular in describing reinforcement and agreement by likeminded peers. Think about your Facebook newsfeed, an amalgam of opinions, articles, and photographs posted by your ‘friends.’ The content and opinions reflected are likely more similar than not – after all most personal and professional connections are established on common ground. So – when you seek feedback from a homogenous group of like minded, like trained, and similarly experienced peers, few revelations occur.

Now, think about the most recent policy or process change implemented within your own organization. Was there widespread communication shared with those outside of the individuals directly affected? If a new physician documentation policy was the hot topic, did your nursing staff receive education as well? Change creates a ripple in your organization’s pond, but open communication mitigates the effects.

Divurgent’s Transformational Service Team recognizes the value in taking a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving. We have seen the overwhelming success when organizations incorporate the collective consciousness of each employee when implementing change, training, and technology solutions. No matter how great or small a change, the effects are widespread. We have also seen the struggles as organizations implement change and training solutions with an isolationist approach. It’s natural for physician teams, for example, to operate independently from their nursing counterparts, however, the advantages of opening communication and encouraging collaboration is invaluable to the patient outcome.

Effective teams share common goals and trust their fellow members. Whether it is in the standardization of patient care, refinements to tools and technology, reengineering business processes, or integrating the latest healthcare reform initiative, all members of the care team should be at the table. Moreover, representatives of the business or revenue cycle should be there as well. Taking the integrated care team approach to the business and technology side of healthcare delivery eliminates operational and role based echo chambers. The benefits continue to flow downstream with improved workflow efficiency, more accurate capture of data, increased patient satisfaction and enhanced employee morale.

Transformational Services leads by example, leaning on the time-honored experience of a diverse team to deliver tailored solutions. Don’t be surprised if we suggest including pharmacy in physician-to-nurse handoff scenarios, or your coding department in clinical documentation exercises. Successful strategic approaches to re-formulating an effective multidisciplinary team include identifying leadership expectations and visions, improving appropriate communication systems, establishing a team culture of trust, rewarding contribution, and facilitating participation from every discipline.

As you purposefully lead your organization into another year, look for value in learning from the experience of others.

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