DELIVERING HEALTH CARE THROUGH MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAMS

DELIVERING HEALTH CARE THROUGH MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAMS

DELIVERING HEALTH CARE THROUGH MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAMS

This research examines the concept of delivering health care through multi-disciplinary teams. The applications of the multi-disciplinary team concept for the delivery of health care range from general practice environments to specialized care delivery situations (Mitchell, Cuthbert, Porter, & Abbot, 1993, pp. 39-50; O’Hara, Burns, & Closs, 1994, pp. 25-29).

The use of teams to accomplish the work of organizations is a growing practice in a wide variety of industries. The team-based approach to the accomplishment of work is a procedure “in which members of different functional departments work together in small, but more or less permanent, teams headed by the member from the most professional prestigious specialty” (Gortner, Mahler, & Nicholson, 1994, p. 111). Thus, in the delivery of health care, both the composition of a team and the professional specialty from which the team leader is drawn will vary according to the essential task responsibility assigned to a team. In a typical team-based health care service delivery situation, team members “maintain their ties to functional departments for personnel, training, promotion, and other such matters, but they work face to face principally with members of other departments to achieve the level of coordinated expertise demanded by their tasks” (p. 111).

Through the creation and functioning of teams, members of teams learn to build good relationships with other team members, engage in joint problem-solving efforts, and find ways to reduce interpersonal, interdepartmental, and interdisciplinary friction (O’Hara, Burns, & Closs, pp. 25-29). Successful team implementation also leads to improved communication, enhanced creativity, more effective decision-making, and higher levels of organizational performance (Larson & LaFasto, pp. 7-26).

Controversies Surrounding Health Care Teams

As a result of the combination of…

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