Interdisciplinary practice helps hospitals improve collaboration, outcomes

Interdisciplinary practice may help hospitals with efforts to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes, according to

For example, Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla, New York, implemented interdisciplinary training in therapeutic crisis intervention four years ago. Since then it has expanded the effort, with a newly-hired chief medical officer and chief nursing officer assembling an interdisciplinary work group to enhance interprofessional communications.

The practice is so effective that it is now an inextricable part of Blythedale Children's organizational culture, Jill Wegener, R.N., the hospital's chief nursing officer, told the publication.

The hospital holds interdisciplinary care plan meetings once a week with representatives from every discipline that have direct contact with the child, she said. The staff use the meetings to develop multidisciplinary patient care plans that allow each participant a "big picture" view of what other disciplines are doing during the care process.

Thus far, Wegener said, the biggest obstacle to this strategy is potential scheduling conflicts. If and when these occur, she said, the teams meet for brief huddles to reach a consensus instead. Part of why the interdisciplinary approach works, she said, is because Blythedale Children's is a smaller hospital with fewer bureaucratic layers.

California hospitals, preparing for an influx of senior citizen patients as the population ages, have also made use of interdisciplinary teams, developing them to treat complex, elderly patients, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

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