Interdisciplinary Teamwork

2607965994_eefa9c459a_o (2)Support for the utilization of interdisciplinary teams is frequent and vociferous, with many sources citing the advantages of such an approach. Even as collaborative teamwork was being pioneered during the first world war its efficiency was emphasized, specifically in regard to continuity of care (Cooter, 2004). This increased efficacy has been related to the pooling of diverse skills, knowledge and experience from member disciplines, maximizing available resources and enhancing creativity in problem solving. Patients report greater satisfaction with care and several studies show findings with a significant correlation between interdisciplinary care and both decreased mortality rates and increased quality of life (Kramer & Schmalenberg, 2003). Moreover, the literature suggests increased cost-effectiveness, most likely as a result of greater resource efficiency and a reduction in duplication or gaps in services (Leipzig et al, 2002). Another area in which interdisciplinary teams show clear advantages over a traditional approach to care delivery is that of work-life satisfaction. Professionals themselves often identify teamwork as a more gratifying way to practice (Kramer& Schmalenberg, 2003). Working in interdisciplinary teams increases professionals’ self-confidence and sense of worth and importance, qualities that are likely positively impacted by the increased mutual respect between team members and the understanding of the unique skills of each. Indeed, such an approach is said to lead to increased honesty and openness between involved professions, factors that may further enhance a sense of fulfillment. It is clear why an interdisciplinary, professional practice approach to care delivery is currently the model of choice in health care.

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