Interdisciplinary Collaboration Graphic

A fellow blogger named David and I worked together to write an article about teamwork and cooperation in healthcare.

You can read our post here:

http://blog.davidbendell.com/2014/improved-interdisciplinary-collaboration-for-better-patient-safety/

It has been my experience that small, private healthcare practices, such as those in the field of Orthotics and Prosthetics, tend to operate very independently. Interactions with other members of the healthcare community are often limited to self-promotion aimed at referral sources and the occasional round-table discussion at annual conferences. This may have been an acceptable practice previously, but the world has changed. Information is now able to be exchanged at increasingly rapid rates, we no longer have the excuse that it is difficult to contact our colleagues. Patients benefit when their caregivers maintain open and clear communication.

What should you do? 

1. If you are a patient: You should not assume that your various caregivers are communicating adequately. Be sure that you have copies of all relevant documentation. Keep a set for yourself and bring your paperwork to your appointment. Take notes about what each caregiver is telling you. Be able to refer to these notes in case you seem to be getting confusing or conflicting information from different practitioners. This extra caution will ensure that you don’t fall through the cracks. Your doctors should never intentionally mislead or incorrectly treat you, but everyone makes mistakes… Even people who wear white coats.

2. If you are a practitioner: Reach out to your colleagues. Get to know the other practitioners in town. Don’t just view them as competition or as a referral source. Think of them as a fount of information that you can use to better treat your mutual patients.  Even those who vary drastically from you in terms of discipline type and education level possess specific skill sets and knowledge bases from which you can learn. Your patients will benefit from your willingness to collaborate with their other caregivers.

Walk well!

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